Whole head of cauliflower, steamed, fried and then baked!
And no, this is not a 'daily dish' and neither have I made it before...but this was a special dinner for a couple of good friends. It happened to be the only 'special' dish with Jeera Rice, served alongwith the comfort and ease of leftovers in single serve-portions: Jeera Aloo, Sauted Red Chard, pepper rasam! Shameless moi! But yes, the cauliflower did make a nice center piece! .... and caught attention, and not for all right reasons! ;-)
Someone saw the knife by the side and thought that it was tiny turkey!
The process was made tiresome by the fact that one did not manage time efficiently..
The endeavour was to make an Italian style baked cauliflower sprinkled with Indian flavours. So started off by steaming the cauliflower and then found that one did not have time to bake it before running an errand, so fried it head down for 15-20 minutes turning on the sides...Frying the whole cauliflower head with the core still on, to provide the 'grip' for the tongs to turn it on the sides too.
Frying the whole head of cauliflower with the core still on.
The fried Cauliflower resting on the iron tawa, for the oil to drain off!!
The Cauliflower looked good but then found out that there was not enough time to make sure that the frying process really 'cooked' it through! Then came the question of how to incorporate flavours since the florets were all tightly packed.
This took the recipe to an entirely new direction, from the Italian to the somewhat more traditional Mughlai style...more like the Mussallam recipes! And one ended up making a rich sauce with cream, an onion-tomato base and whole spices and then baking it so that the flavours permeated the cauliflower! But before basting/marinating with the cooked sauce, carefully cut off the core, making sure the florets remain intact. A final garnish with lightly cooked green peas and finely chopped corainder made it complete!
Baked it uncovered with the sauce in a glass pie pan, but our friends suggested that covering it with foil will soften the texture a little more and allow the sauces to really permeate and I would follow it next time.
The base was fried tomato, sauted onion-ginger-garlic with turmeric, red chilli powder, paprika [instead of the traditional saffron for color] and a home-made Garam Masala that had black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise with just a touch of coriander and cummin. Have to re-do it, note down measurements and then post the recipe.
Notes: Plenty of sunlight streaming in, the photographs were all in a rush...