Ever notice how a simple Carrot And Lentil Salad is transformed into a fancier dish by just calling it Moroccan Carrot Ribbons And Black Lentil Crumbs? Maybe it is the dog eat dog world of food blogging that compels us to project and portray in a manner that is snootier and quite frankly, a tiny bit annoying especially if you are just an unsuspecting cook looking for quick and easy instructions.
As we head into yet another era of blogging about food, it seems to me that names of recipes get longer and longer. They appear to be winding sentences, not short phrases. They glorify what is not, they crowd and clutter, they boast and confuse. If a Chocolate Cake is just a Chocolate Cake and not Italian Chocolate And Cinnamon Cake With Chocolate Buttercream, then the Carrot And Lentil Salad should be just that. I might have on ocassions given in to the fad, but very rarely. Nowadays, I am making an even more sincere effort to simplify things that otherwise end up being lost in all the busy and all the noise of every day life.
In an ode to simplicity, instead of calling my recipe Cauliflower And Potato Curry With Spiced Green Peas And Coriander, I am simply calling it Cauliflower Curry. It is often nice to leave something to the imagination. I love cauliflower. It is one of my most beloved vegetables. I have been making this curry for so long now, I cannot even remember when I first started making it. It is a loose adaptation of my mum's curry that I loved as a child. This curry is an exploration for me, because every time I make it from the top of my head (I don't have it written down anywhere!), it turns out different. But equally delicious. At the end of the recipe, I have shared some variations and ideas to play around with this beautiful curry. Enjoy! To Simplicity!
A hearty vegetarian curry that can be toned down or spiced up for a family meal. Leftovers can be baked into a pizza or served on mini flatbreads at a potluck.
Preparation Time - 15 minutes
Cooking Time - 30 minutes
Serves - 4 to 6
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground chili (optional)
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the cauliflower florets and potato cubes to the water. Cook on high heat for 5 to 8 minutes until the veggies are just shy of tender. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the bay leaves, onions and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add all the spices, seasonings, peas, potatoes and cauliflower. Mix well to combine. Add the water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a vented lid and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with naan, flatbread or rice.
Notes & Ideas
The cooking time varies on the type of pan and potatoes used. It vaies even for me when I use different utensils. The rule of thumb I follow is to not overcook the veggies when I par boil them in water at the start. I also make sure that I have enough liquid in the pan during the final cooking to ensure that my curry doesn't stick and burn.
This curry is dry as all the water cooks through. If I want a sauce, I like adding 1/2 a cup of low fat cooking cream towards the end. If I want a lighter and less creamy curry, I just add a cup of tomato paste during cooking.
I make variations to this curry by substituting green peas with canned chickpeas or canned lentils. Sometimes, I switch potatoes for carrots and add lemon zest and cardamom.
I have even served this curry on mini naan breads topped with a dollop of yogurt and chickpea noodles.
Leftovers can be scattered on a pizza base and baked. The pizza can be served with dollops of sour cream and leafy greens.