Cauliflower Peanut Curry

There are times, when not to judge a book by its cover. Sometimes looks are really deceiving and I think that could be a good thing. If everything looked as it seemed there would be no mystery. Mystery is needed to seduce and to entice curiosity. That being said, let me address this picture before anything else. I wish I could blame the appearance of this meal on my lack of camera skills, or that it was having a bad “vegetable day” (Ha, Ha… ok I thought that was cute) however it’s just no beauty.

In spite of its less then stellar looks (poor thing) this peanuty coconut curry cauliflower dish tastes divine on a bed of brown basmati rice doused with raita, lemon slices, toasted slivered almonds, fresh or toasted coconut, raisins and sliced cucumbers. Shew…. Try saying that all in one breath. Pick your choice. This time around I chose coconut flakes.

This recipe comes originally from The New Moosewood Cookbook. I have modified some of the ingredients and recipe techniques to not only give it more protein and less carbs, (I do like to watch my figure;-) but to mimic authentic Indian cuisine. Sauteing the spices before the onions, creates the foundation for this dish and intensifies the flavors even more. And I definitely like intensity.

Cauliflower Peanut Curry

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Sea salt 
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, reserve some for garnish
1/2 cup lightly toasted peanuts
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup water (more, as needed)

1 large cauliflower, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, cut into coin medallions
1 cup cooked chick peas
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet and add the mustard seeds, turmeric, ground cloves, cumin seeds and cayenne pepper.  Once the mustard seeds start to pop,  (less than a minute) stir in the onions and salt. Saute for 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions start to become translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
  2. In the meantime, in a blender puree the peanuts, sesame seeds and shredded coconut with water. If it’s too thick, add more water. This should have the consistency of a thick paste.
  3. Then add cauliflower and carrot and mix well. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, then add the paste. Mix well. Cook, covered, over low heat until the cauliflower is tender, stirring every few minutes. Add more water, if necessary, to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the chick peas, and lemon juice, and cook a few more minutes. Taste to adjust salt, and serve hot, with rice and condiments.

Kale & Potato Curry

We just celebrated Rosh Hashana in the sign of Virgo where attention to systems, health, details and routines are all up and in the lime light during this time. It is a time we renew ourselves and start over in this new year. Intentions and goals set during this time find energetic support by the newly born year.
I ended my year with submitting my manuscript to my publisher for my upcoming cookbook Silk & Spice: Mindful Eating for the Vegetarian from the Silk Road  due out in Fall 2013. It was a three year process to formulate and write my cookbook, and although I am ecstatic that it’s getting published, I am a bit sad that this project of mine is over. It was my companion for a long time. We cooked, tweaked and revised together until we got to perfection. I will write another post about the process of writing my cookbook.
For me, this Rosh Hashana is about introspection and food, and connecting them both in a way, where food can be used to grace ones life with Gods presence. I will be working on my next labor of love, Spiritual Kneading for Rosh Chodesh which is about taking the physical matter of dough and kneading it as a means to clear the mind and connect with God and your innermost goodness.

And speaking of goodness, I just made this Kale & Potato Curry dish utilizing Falls’ typical produce, which shines on your face like a warm summers day with these golden potatoes. If you want to make it ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze it, leave out the yoghurt and add it at the last minute, just before serving.

Servings 4

Ingredients

1 bunch kale
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 onion, halved and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
l ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
l ½ teaspoon ground cumin
l ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cardamom pods, smashed
4 medium potatoes, cut into bite size chunks
1 cup plain (full-fat) yoghurt
1½ tablespoons tomato purée
small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
small handful of almonds, cashews or pistachios, toasted and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Separate the kale from the stalks and roughly chop the leaves.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and saute until just golden.
  3. Meanwhile, pound the garlic, chili and ginger together with a pinch of salt to a paste. Add to the onion and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Tip in the rest of the spices and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Add the potatoes and chopped kale and saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, so that they are well coated with the spice mixture.
  5. Pour in enough water to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are just tender. Add the kale, stir and cook until just wilted.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, tomato puree and some of the hot liquid from the curry.
  7. Remove the curry from the heat, stir in the yoghurt mixture, return to the heat and warm through very gently (if it gets too hot, the yoghurt will curdle). Stir in most of the cilantro.
  8. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Scatter over the toasted nuts and remaining cilantro, then serve with rice.

Sweet Savory Chick Pea Curry


This is an unusual twist on the classic curry dish, which has a sweet kick to it with fennel undertones. The raisins and carrots add a rich color and delightful taste that will satiate your palate. This dish comes from my mother in law, Shirley in South Africa where many African dishes have an Indian influence because they descended in the 19th century as indentured workers transported to work on the sugar plantations of Natal. The result is a fusion Indo-African dish, which is best served over basmati rice.

Serves 6
Ingredients


4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1-inch ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cumin, fennel seeds
2 apples, finely diced
2 carrots, sliced and cubed
2 tomatoes, diced
1- 15 ounce can of cooked Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans), drained and rinsed
½ cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped (to garnish)
      1                 1      Heat oil in a large pot over a medium high flame, add onions and stir for a few minutes. Add garlic, and ginger stirring to make sure mixture does not stick.

                              2      Once onions are translucent, add all the spices including salt. Stir for an additional 3 minutes.
                              3      Stir in apples for a minute, then add carrots and stir for another minute and then stir the tomatoes in.  Let cook for a few minutes.
                             4      Stir in the garbanzo beans and vegetable stock, bringing mixture to a boil.
                             5      Once boiling, lower heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and raisins and simmer for another 10 minutes.
                            6      When done, serve garnished with parsley.

Mock Chicken Curry


Tonight I have many friends coming over for dinner… some are vegetarian, while others are not, so I made a dish that would be a fair compromise for the carnivores at the dinner table; Mock Chicken Curry. I have made this dish several times in the past with great success, not only because it’s delicious, but because it tastes like the “real” thing for those eaters that are not vegetarian.

Chicken curry is a common dish in India as well as neighboring countries, the United Kingdom and Caribbean. It originated in India and was introduce to the rest of the world throughout history.

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 (10-ounce) packages of vegetarian chicken nuggets*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 small chili (seeds removed)
3 onions, diced
½ teaspoon chili powder
4 cloves crushed garlic
3 tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoon mango chutney (or any of your choice)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized skillet over a medium high flame, add mustard seed, turmeric, curry powder, ginger, chili and chili powder. Stir for 2 minutes.
  2. Then add onions and garlic, stirring to make sure onions don’t brown. Remove from heat after 4 minutes and remove into a bowl to set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add mock chicken and let brown on both sides. Then add tomatoes on top of chicken. Stir a bit, then add the remaining ingredients from the bowl.
  4. Let it simmer, covered for 45 minutes. 30 minutes into simmer, add mango chutney.


* For this recipe I used the brand “May Wah” or go to any good Asian supermarket and you will find it in the frozen section of mock meats.