It was my 18th birthday and Amma had cooked a lavish spread for my birthday lunch with all my friends. I can still remember the spacious granite table in my parents home laden with many different dishes and the sound of laughter coming from my girlfriends surrounding it. On the table were many of my favourites: ghee rice, rajma, caramel custard, kheer and my favourite cauliflower curry!
With simple and exotic curries laced with pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves, my mother instilled a love of curry within me from a very young age. And amongst the many different kinds of curries that she made, Cauliflower Curry was such a favourite with me! I loved to eat it with ghee rice, plain rice or chapatis.
Over the past few years, I almost forgot how much I used to love this curry until I received a beautiful cauliflower from my vendor and memories of my birthday lunch lashed through my mind. I craved the comfort of this curry that I ate all through my growing years in the secure environs that my parents provided to us. And the next thing I knew was that I was making this delicious curry!
I relished every bite of this delicious and comforting curry with rice and some homemade dahi or yogurt on the side. If you love curries, you will love this beautiful dish that is simple to make but is laced with complex layers of flavours and tastes. If you cook the cauliflower just until tender, it can also replace the cravings of a meat eater. This curry also happens to be vegan and gluten free making it accessible to many people.
When I look back at my 18th birthday, I feel so grateful for the memories created by my mother with her enthusiasm and exceptional cooking skills and I'm sure you would agree with me that few things in life can surpass the joy of a table laden with good food and friends surrounding it to savour and cherish the joy!
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Cauliflower Curry Recipe
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
To be ground into a paste:
1 cup coconut, grated
1 large or 2 small tomatoes
2 green chilies
½ cup coriander leaves
2” piece ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup water
For the seasoning:
2 tbsp oil
½ hing or asafoetida powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp or more dried mint
2 tsp salt or to taste
Place the cauliflower in enough water until it is covered and cook until tender and keep aside.
In a blender put all the ingredients for blending and grind to a smooth paste using the water.
In a pot or pan, heat the oil and once the oil is warm, add all the spice powders in quick succession on low heat. Ensure that the spices are not scorched. Immediately add in the ground paste and bring to a boil.
Add the cooked cauliflower, along with the cooking water to the ground mixture, add salt and mix well.
Adjust the consistency of the curry with water if required.
Serve hot with plain rice or any Indian breads of your choice.
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