Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Butter Gobhi - cauliflower curry in a buttery gravy

Found this recipe of Kulsum on Pintrest and was drooling over it ever since. I found some gobi on sale that day and stocked up with a single minded mission to try it out. My sister and I love gobhi and are always up for trying different versions of it. I was particularly drawn to this one because of how both the gobhi and the masala are cooked separately in masalas and then combined together for a slow cooked end.

But the biggest surprise out of this curry was the fact that VJ ate gobhi. Yes, VJ. The guy who swore off gobhi as a stinky, smelly vegetable that tastes like mulch. And now, he asked me to make the same curry again and wants to eat the whole batch with my mutter pulao.

I tell you, this curry has the miraculous power to cure. I witnessed it myself. It cured VJ.

Anyways, without boring you further I'll get down to the recipe itself. I followed her recipe truthfully with a few exceptions:
1) I skipped the black cardamom and tomato paste since I had none.
2) I also substituted the kala jeera with normal jeera. 
3) I had no cream at home and used a extra 1 tbsp of butter in 2 tbsp of 2% milk, microwaved together for about 30 seconds (3 turns of 10 seconds each)
4) The chilli powder I use is kashmiri and hence it didn't pack the punch. So I chopped one green chilli and added it to the curry at the last stage.
5) I also made the gravy first and set it cool while frying the gobhi. 

Onion - 1 large
Tomatoes - 2 large
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts (crushed) - 1 tbsp
Butter - 3 tbsp
Bay leaf - 1
Green cardomom - 1 (crushed)
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 2 inch piece
Cloves - 2
Salt - to taste
Water - 1 cup

Cauliflower - 1 head
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - 1/2 cup
Butter - 1tbsp

To finish:
Green chilli - 1, chopped
Half and half - 2 tbsp
Kasoori methi - 1 tsp

1. Chop the onions and tomatoes finely and set aside.
2. Heat the butter in a thick bottomed pan and add the bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, cumin and cinnamon. Fry for about 10 secs until you can smell the aroma of the spices.
3. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and fry until golden. Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry until well blended and the raw smell fades.
4. Now add all the masalas (turmeric, red chilli, coriander, garam masala and crushed cashews) and mix well. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook until it forms a well blended, mushy paste. 
5. Now add 1/2 a cup water and let it boil for about 10 mins. Transfer to a wide bowl and set it to cool completely.

In the meantime, we will fry the gobhi.

1. Peel off the leaves and break/cut the cauliflower in big pieces. Wash in a colander under hot running water for about 2 mins.
2. Drain and transfer to a big bowl and add the ginger garlic paste. Mix into the florets uniformly. Now add the red chilli, garam masala and salt and mix well until well blended.
3. Using the same pan, heat the butter and add the florets to it. Fry until lightly browned. 
4. Add the half cup water to it and cook with the lid on for about 7 mins. Take care not to overcook and make the florets mushy. It has to just cook through.

To finish:
1. Remove the bay leaf from the cooled gravy and blend into a fine paste.
2. Add this to the cauliflower along with 1/2 cup water and the chopped chillies. Check for salt and cook for about 10 mins or so with the lid.
3. Finally add in the cream and kasoori methi. Serve with rice and/or roti, nan etc.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Pav Bhaaji - Indian Street Food

Before VJ came to the US, he attended a bunch of cooking classes with a lady whom he fondly calls as "Usha Aunty". And he came armed with a notebook full of quick recipes from her that, for all obvious reasons, had one for pav bhaaji. It's one of VJ's favorite foods right next to a good ol' grilled veggie sandwich - from South Bombay :)

VJ has made this recipe many times over and it has come out in absolute perfection each time. It's one of the recipes for which we actually went out of our student-budget-ways to stock up a secret ingredient. This secret ingredient makes this recipe what it is. I haven't personally met Usha Aunty, but she is the rightful owner of this recipe and I owe countless happy meals to her. We always buy the squarish dinner rolls from the supermarket and just toast them with butter on a pan for the pav.

To start off with a little background on Pav Bhaaji, it's a typical Indian street food and has 2 main components: the bhaaji, which is the potato based almost-liquidy curry and the pav, which is baked bread similar to dinner rolls. But what makes the pav bhaaji a real treat is the garnishing; it's always served with freshly chopped red onions, generous sprinkling of lemon juice and loads of butter. This dish is one of those rare occasions where I turn a blind eye to the amount of butter used and just give in to the pleasure of devouring it like a child with no health concerns. And let me tell you this, it is sooooo worth it!

To read more on pav bhaaji, see here.

For the bhaaji:
Potatoes - 3 medium
Green peas - 1/2 cup
Green pepper - 1/2 of one
Tomatoes - 6 medium (roma) or 4 medium (hot house/vine)
Onion - 1 large (preferably red)
Garlic - 6 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green chilli - 1
Butter - 3 tbsp + 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp

Red chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder + Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Pav bhaaji masala - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Black salt - 1 tsp
Cilantro - 2 tbsp, chopped
Salt - optional, to taste 

For the pav:
Dinner rolls - pack of 12
Butter - 2 tbsp

1. Boil the potatoes (peeled), peas and capsicum (chopped) in enough water until well cooked. It's ok to be a little overcooked. Cool and mash well using a potato masher. Set aside.
2. Make a paste of the onion, ginger, garlic and green chilli. Set aside.
3. Puree the tomatoes. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil and butter in a thick bottomed pan and fry the onion paste until the oil separates. 
5. Add the tomato puree and cover with lid and cook once again until the oil separates. This is an important step as it brings out all the tanginess in the tomatoes. But it has to cook well. Also, it's a little messy. So it's good to cover it with a lid and let it cook.
6. Now add all the masalas, black salt, the secret inredient and the coriander leaves (you can save some as garnish). Cook for 5 - 10 mins.
7. To this, add the mashed veggies and mix well. You can add water at this stage to get a almost liquidy consistency. But if you do add water, adjust the masalas and salt accordingly.
8. Garnish with a few drizzles of lemon juice and a side of freshly chopped onions.

For the pav, slice the dinner rolls like a biscuit and butter both sides. Toast on an open pan until the sides are slightly browned. Make them on the spot for guests. The bhaaji can be refrigerated for upto 2 days.

Usha Aunty :)