This cauliflower, peas and coconut curry is a hearty, wholesome stew which my brother Ajay makes. This is his recipe that I’m posting. It is warm, comforting and has a delicate, subtle flavour of the spices and coconut. The whole spice blend adds different layers of flavour while the green chillis and the ground spices gives it a slight edge! 🙂
It’s not too spicy or overdone with the whole spices. Although there are many different whole spices that go into this curry, they are added in small amounts only to ensure that the flavour of the cauliflower and coconut milk is not masked! The most important thing is to make sure that the cauliflower is not overcooked which would totally ruin it. Since it will cook in the curry as well, it is important to ensure that it is partially or half cooked only. And the process of cooking it in the curry will make sure the flavour of the gravy will go into the cauliflower. Otherwise it would be overcooked, mushy and flavourless.
Ingredients: (Serves 4 people)
For whole spice blend–
- Pepper corns-4
- Green cardamom- 1
- Cloves- 2
- Coriander (dhania) seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
- Fennel seeds- a pinch
- Cinnamon stick- 1/2 inch piece
- Bay leaf- 1/2
For the gravy–
- Cauliflower- 200 grams
- Peas- a small handful
- Turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon
- Onions- 3 small
- Garlic cloves- 4-5
- Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
- Green chillis- 2 1/2 medium sized; finely chopped
- Coconut oil- 1 tablespoon
- Yogurt- 120 ml (Vegans use soy yogurt)
- Gram flour or chickpea flour (Besan)- 1 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder- 1 teaspoon
- Coriander powder- 1/2 teaspoon
- Coconut milk- 200 ml
- Pepper powder- 1/4 teaspoon
- Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt- to taste
- Coriander leaves- a small handful for garnish
Add the plain yogurt or soy yogurt into a bowl and beat it well until smooth. To it, add the gram flour or chickpea flour (besan) and beat until well combined. Set aside.
Trim cauliflower into medium sized florets. Wash well under tap water and add to a big pot containing room temperature water. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and half of the turmeric powder (that is 1/2 teaspoon) and allow it to come to the boil. Turmeric has antibacterial properties. Adding turmeric to the water in which you are cooking your vegetables will kill the bacteria present and also provides a nice yellow colour. After about 2 mins add the peas and cook till it cauliflower is half cooked (par cooked) for about 9-10 mins. When you pierce the cauliflower with a knife, it should go through but it should offer some resistance while you pierce it. Drain it well and rinse under cold water to prevent it from cooking further. Set it aside. Meanwhile, dice the onions and finely chop the garlic and the ginger.
To pan add coconut oil and allow it to become slightly hot. To it, add the whole spice mix and allow spices to crackle and release their aroma. Make sure you keep an eye on it. Once you start getting the aroma, add the chopped ginger, chopped garlic and finely chopped green chilli. Sauté it for about a minute until the garlic starts to take a slight colour. To it, add the chopped onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté this for 1-2 minutes until the onions begin to breakdown and it becomes translucent (slightly white in colour).
Add the drained cauliflower and peas and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chilli powder, coriander powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Pour in the coconut milk and mix it well. Add sugar, pepper powder and season with salt to taste. Let it cook for 1 minute then add the yogurt mixture along with 1/4 cup water. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to cook until the cauliflower and peas are tender and also the gram flour has cooked out. Remove the lid and let it thicken to the desired consistency. We do not like it too watery so we cook it until we have a slightly thick gravy.
Most importantly, taste it. Check the gravy for spice and salt. If it isn’t spicy enough, add a little bit more of chilli powder. And adjust the salt as well. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with warm steamed rice or roti’s. 🙂