March 4th 2014
I love Indian food but I used to rarely make it at home, as it always seemed to be missing out on a certain depth. When I first moved to Portland, I met a lady who had just relocated here from India, we would walk our daughters home together from kindergarten and she would practice her English on me while I collected her vegetarian Indian cooking techniques.
One of those secrets being black mustard seeds, she said if I didn't have those none of my dishes would taste right. Boy was she right. She ended up moving out of Portland a few months later, but before she did she made me an amazing buffet of her dishes. Fresh fried puri, lentils, and a basmati rice pudding! It was the most at home I had felt here in Portland at that point, we weren't able to stay in touch but I will always remember her and her amazing cooking. I used her techniques to develop this recipe, which is an easy weeknight version that doesn't require a visit to the specialty market.
You will need:
1 head of cauliflower broken into florets
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large dice
1 inch piece, fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala, or good quality Indian curry blend
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup veggie stock
1 serrano chili split in half
In a blender place peanut oil, garlic, ginger, tumeric, paprika, and garam masala, blend until a paste is formed. In a large pan heat the oil and spice blend over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add Serrano and mustard seeds, cook for two minutes, add butter, when butter has melted, add cauliflower and sweet potatoes and cook until they both are well coated with the spices and mustard seeds. Add stock, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is very soft and the liquid has evaporated. Stir in fresh cilantro and serve with rice or naan.