Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cauliflower with potatoes and peas

Cauliflower with potatoes and peas is a very traditional combination in every North Indian home. Mine is a variation of the same - stir fried with 'Mom's masala' - a combination of spices which my mom makes and I haven't eaten one like it, it is a familiar taste of home.
This dish is very versatile - as part of an Indian meal comprising of a lentil dish and rice or chapati, as a filling for quesadillas, as a panini filling, in a wrap with some sweet onion, shredded lettuce and thinly sliced tomatoes without seeds, or as a side with a piece of grilled fish or chicken.


Stir fried cauliflower with potatoes and peas

1 lb cauliflower florets
8 oz yukon gold potatoes
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons 'Mom's masala' (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
  1. Cut the cauliflower florets into 1/2 inch pieces trying to maintain them as little florets as much as possible. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 inch pieces. (If the vegetables are cut small they will cook faster.)
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet with canola oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them pop. Add the potatoes and saute for 3 to 4 minutes till they are brown at the edges. Add the cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and turmeric and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Now cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, tossing once in between. Add another 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and continue to cover and cook for another 5 minutes over medium heat, till the potatoes are soft and the cauliflower is cooked. Remove the cover and add the green peas, 'Mom's masala' and sugar and toss well. Cook for a couple of minutes. Remove to a serving bowl and serve.
Serves 4

Mom's Masala
2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoon coriander seeds
11 pods of green cardamom
1/2 tablespoon cloves
2 inch stick of cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Heat a small heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and roast till they start to crackle and give off their smoky aroma. Be careful not to burn the spices as there is a fine line between being roasted and burnt. It is better to roast a little less than having burnt spices. Remove the cumin to the spice grinder and do the same with the coriander seeds.
  2. The cardamom, cloves and cinnamon can be roasted for about a minute and the black pepper separately for about a minute as well.
  3. Grind them altogether to a powder - it need not be very fine. 
Makes a scant 1/2 cup. Can be refrigerated for prolonged shelf life.

Note - 1: I find the Cuisinart spice grinder works best, since it has a detachable bowl. Coffee grinders can work as well, but you will need a separate one for coffee and spices.

Note - 2: You can use the same recipe to cook with just potatoes, or just cauliflower or a combination of potatoes and green beans. They are all delicious. Also, you can use this 'masala' as a substitute where a recipe calls for garam masala. 

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