Cauliflower, in my view, is massively underrated. In the past it was perhaps thought of as a little bland, but when you boil anything I guess it could be described as bland. Growing up we had cauliflower cheese – which don’t get me wrong, is delicious – but beyond that people really didn’t tend to do much with it. That has all changed though in the last couple of years, with dishes such as cauliflower rice, cauliflower base for pizza, roasted cauliflower, burnt cauliflower – you name it, people are getting creative with this humble ingredient. In Indian cuisine it is hugely versatile and used in all manner of dishes.
Throw a little spice into the mix and you have yourself a very tasty little number. I thought I would show you one of my favourite cauliflower recipes that works well either on its own or as part of a larger Indian feast. Dried methi, or fenugreek as it is also known, is fairly easy to come by these days. Certainly the large supermarkets stock it, but I like to get it from one of my local Asian grocers. You can order online – here from Asian Dukan. Easy.
Methi has a wonderful aroma, that works so well with the cauliflower. Only scatter the dried leaves over the cauliflower at the very end of cooking and gently fold the leaves into the dish. I cook this dish with the trinity of Indian spices: turmeric, cumin and coriander, but my mother-in-law likes to keep it super simple and literally just add, oil, dried chilli, salt and dried methi. It is also delicious this way, but try my slightly more elaborate way first.
Gobi Aloo Kasoori Methi – Cauliflower with Potato and Dried Fenugreek Leaves
serves 4-6 along with another dish or two.
2 medium potatoes, cubed into 2-2.5cm
3-4 tbsp rapeseed/vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 small dried red chillies
1 cauliflower, outer leaves removed and cut into small florets
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt, to taste
sprinkling of water
2 tbsp of Kasoori Methi
- Peel the potatoes and then once diced place them in a pan of boiling water and boil for around 8 minutes or until softened but not mushy. Strain and place to one side.
- In a large wide pan (ideally with a lid), add 1 tablespoon of oil and when it is hot add the cumin seeds move around the pan for 10 seconds before adding the dried chillies.
- Add the boiled cubed potatoes and cover with the cumin seeds.
- Place the cauliflower florets into the pan and move around so that they are also beginning to coat themselves in the cumin seeds. You will need to add a little more oil at this stage to help the cauliflower cook and soften. Add the oil at stages instead of all at once.
- Add the turmeric, cumin and coriander powders along with the salt and fold into the cauliflower.
- Keep the cauliflower gently moving around the pan at intervals. Sprinkle a little water to help soften the cauliflower and place a lid on the pan.
- Every few minutes move the contents of the pan around.
- Continue to cook gently, on a low heat for a further 10-15 minutes so that the cauliflower has softened.
- Finally add the fenugreek leaves – kasoori methi and gently fold into the cauliflower. Take off the heat and serve.
An alternative and even simpler way to cook this dish is to replace cumin seeds with methi (fenugreek) seeds, do not add any spice and then the kasoori methi. Obviously the dish is not as yellow in colour but still tastes really delicious. You can also omit the potatoes if you wish.