Saturday, May 12, 2012

Indian Cauliflower & Peas (Gobi Matar)

Gobi Matar Indian Cauliflower & Peas
The flavors in this traditional cauliflower and peas dish from India's Uttar Pradesh region are subtle and fragrant, rather than bold and spicy. Slow, gentle cooking makes the cauliflower florets tender and buttery, while the stems remain slightly crispy for a pleasing contrast in textures. Use fresh or frozen peas, preferably organic, for their naturally sweet flavor and bright green color.

The key to this dish is to allow the cauliflower to braise in the liquid until it is all but evaporated, leaving the cauliflower delicately spiced and a lovely golden yellow.  Serve gobi matar as a side dish for 4 to 6, or as a vegetarian entree over rice (preferably basmati) or with naan or other Indian bread, for 2 or 3.

If you cannot find ghee (Indian clarified butter, often available at natural-foods stores or higher-end markets), you can use vegetable oil, but the flavor won't be as rich.

3 to 4 Tbs ghee
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
1 bay leaf
3 to 5 curry leaves (available at Indian and other specialty markets - if you can't find curry leaves, substitute 1 bay leaf for a total of 2 bay leaves in the recipe)
1 Tbs dried parsley OR 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/2 Tbs pureed or finely minced ginger
Spices for Indian food
Cooking the spices in ghee
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can use non-fat)
1/4 cup water

Melt the ghee (or heat the oil) in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until browned stirring regularly, then stir in the bay leaf and/or curry leaves. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle with turmeric, cayenne and parsley, then stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is lightly browned. Add the peas and water, partially cover the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and virtually all of the liquid has evaporated. If after 30 minutes there is still too much liquid, uncover and bring heat to medium high, then cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until it evaporates.

Once the liquid has evaporated, reduce heat to low, sprinkle with salt and stir. Fold in the yogurt and gently stir to combine, cooking over low heat to prevent curdling.  Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley or cilantro if desired.

Zestfully yours,

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