Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cauliflower Curry

I'm currently at the tail end of a cauliflower obsession.  Every fall I go through a cauliflower phase where I buy oodles of it at the farmers' market.  And then I have to take a break because it gets a little monotonous after awhile.  We have another head of cauliflower in the fridge right now (romanesco cauliflower to be precise) so I was trying to come up with two very distinct recipes for the cauliflower.  I picked this one because it seemed interesting and it was very different from all of the other recipes that I was considering.  I'm hoping that the other cauliflower recipe turns out better than this one because truth be told, I was a little disappointed in this dish.  The cauliflower was mushy and the balance of flavors just seemed off to me.  Alex thought it was missing something, whereas I thought the flavor of the coriander was a little overpowering (I would definitely reduce the amount of coriander seeds) and the dish tasted really sweet.  I actually asked Alex if he added sugar, but it was just the sweetness of the onions and the cauliflower itself.  All in all it tasted a little... uneven?  I don't think the flavors melded as harmoniously as I thought they would.  Anytime you use cumin seeds and coriander seeds rather than the ground variety you run the risk that some bites will have a surplus of spice, while others will have little to none.  This recipe suffered a lot because of it.  So you would have some really sweet bites, others with a burst of floral/peppery coriander flavor and others with a hint of smokeyness from the cumin.  But I didn't have a single bite that successfully blended all of those flavors.  And then there was the texture, which I found slightly off-putting.  Note to self - roast cauliflower is way more my speed than stewed cauliflower.  I love the crunch of roast cauliflower and the richer flavor of the caramelized florets, whereas I don't particularly love the mushy texture of stewed cauliflower.

P.S.  I have been a little swamped at work the past couple of weeks so I am a wee bit behind on my posts.  More will be forthcoming as soon as I have time to put them up - I promise.  I have some new Vietnamese and Thai recipes to post about, as well as a few others.  So stay tuned.

Recipe after the jump!

Cauliflower Curry
Available at Food & Wine

1 large red onion, diced
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small jalapeño, thinly sliced
One 2-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
Kosher salt
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro

In a blender, puree half of the diced onion with the coriander and cumin seeds and 1/4 cup of the water.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the remaining diced onion and the jalapeño slices. Cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Scrape in the onion puree from the blender. Pour 1/4 cup of the water into the blender; swirl it around, then pour it into the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion sauce begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet and turn brown, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of water, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the cauliflower and season with salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the diced tomato and the minced cilantro and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Serve.

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