Cauliflou, cauliflower, cauliflowest

I adore cauliflower. I know, that is not a statement one is likely to hear often. But I do. That strong sulphuric smell when I steam and then roast cauliflower is enough to send me into a tizzy. I grew up on rice steamed with cauliflower for lunch every week day, and I tell you, you haven’t smelled white rice cooking until you’ve smelled it cooking with cauliflower.

All right, all you unsympathetic ears. I made this dish for a housemate once, and he said he had never, before then, actually enjoyed cauliflower. Plus there are the incredible cancer-fighting, DNA-repairing traits of cauliflower that it shares with its cruciferous brethren like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and so on.  So here is a simple way that can be included in any Indian meal, with chapatis or naan, with rice and dal; or with any Western meal that has strong flavors as the vegetable side. Or — what the heck — put it in a burrito.

Presenting Gobi Masala done in a Sindhi way.

Ingredients:

Half a head of cauliflower, rinsed and chopped into thin florets, none wider than half an inch

Half a teaspoon whole cumin seed

Few sprinkles of asafetida

Half a teaspoon red chili powder

Half a teaspoon turmeric powder

One teaspoon coriander powder

One inch piece of ginger minced

One-two serrano chilies, sliced

One medium tomato, choopped

Salt to taste

Chopped cilantro to garnish

Method:

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a thick-bottomed pan on medium-high. When it shimmers, put in the asafetida, the cumin seeds, and the red chili powder.

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Gobi masala : spices

They will sizzle presently. In go the ginger and serrano chili. They will start to look blistered.

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Gobi masala: ginger and chili looking sizzling

Now it is time for the cauliflower to go in. Stir to coat with the oil. Sprinkle with salt. Stir occasionally, while leaving the pan uncovered, on medium-high.

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Gobi masala: cauliflower coated with oil and spices

Fifteen minutes later, some of the florets will show some translucence on the stems, and some browning on the buds.

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Gobi masala: some browning on florets

Now, put in the coriander, turmeric, and tomatoes, some extra salt to taste, and stir to coat the florets once again.

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Gobi masala: tomatoes added

Cover, lower the temperature to medium, and let it cook for another ten minutes. At the end, garnish with cilantro.

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Gobi masala: complete with garnish

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