Friday, January 11, 2013

gobi matar, from memory.

this holiday season, we took a big trip to visit my father's extended family in new delhi. how to sum it up? it was a long, enjoyable, relaxing, exhausting, confusing, inspiring, and culinarily unparalleled journey. two weeks of vegetable curries, paneer scrambles, green red and black dals, rice and naans = a small, yet flavorful slice of heaven.

my mom and i watched in awe of three dishes being prepared: mung dal (green lentils), saag paneer (spinach with cheese), and gobi matar (cauliflower with peas). once we'd returned to the states and made a valient, albeit ineffective effort to speedily conquer our jetlag, we tried our hand at the latter two recipes.

the thing is: we hadn't taken any notes while we'd watched the dishes being made the first time. so when we went to replicate, we cooked from memory and from feel, tossing spices in and tasting continuously as we went. and somehow, we managed - according to my father, with his refined palette - to make something pretty frickin' tasty.

today's recipe is the cauliflower with peas one, best served with a side of dal, basmati rice, and a hot roti. i cannot recommend this dish enough, especially for anyone inexperienced or unfamiliar with traditional indian spices. it only takes about 30 minutes total, from chopping to sauteing to devouring. what more, it uses just 3 spices (cumin seed, coriander, and tumeric), and it's super flavorful without being spicy. 

it's also sure to impress any dining partner.

gobi matar
adapted from memory
serves 4

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 cups peas, defrosted
2 tablespoons oil (olive, sesame, or whatever you like)
1 small red onion, sliced or minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
freshly ground pepper

fill a large pot with water, salt, and bring to a boil. add cauliflower florets and boil for 3-4 minutes. the florets should be partially cooked but not completely done. remove and put in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. frain in colander and set aside.

heat oil in a pan over medium high. toss in a cumin seed Рif the seed starts to wiggle around, the oil is hot enough. lower heat to medium, add all of the cumin, and stir for 30 seconds. add onion, garlic, and ginger. saut̩ for a few minutes. add 1 tsp each of turmeric, coriander, and salt, and saut̩ for another 2 minutes.

add in cauliflower and gently toss to coat. cauliflower should be a yellow-ish color from being coated in the oil and spices. at this point, i added in another 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, coriander, and salt and tossed.

cover the pan and lower to medium-low heat. cook for another 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. add peas and toss to coat. turn heat to low, cover pan, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. cauliflower should soft but not mushy. grind some fresh pepper over it, and salt to taste.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

new year, new muffins.

my new year's resolution for 2012 was to cook with unfamiliar ingredients. one of the ingredients i tried and got addicted to was coconut oil. i bought my mom a jar a few months ago, and over the holidays she asked me how and when to cook with it. now, i'm no expert on all of its various uses, but i really enjoy it as butter substitute in baking. it's far from a neutral oil, so you have to be craving that coconut-y flavor. fortunately, if you're anything like me, the more you use it, the more you'll want it. in everything.

i decided to try my hand at these coconut chocolate chip muffins yesterday to show my mom the joys of baking with coconut oil. they turned out fantastically moist and flavorful. i used equal parts coconut flour and almond meal, which makes them gluten free. i replaced the eggs with bananas, which makes them vegan. and i threw in a generous amount of chocolate chips and a light dusting on turbinado sugar at the end, making them delicious and slightly decadent. i won't tell you how and when to eat your muffins, but i will say that in addition to being a perfect morning coffee accompaniment, they also wouldn't be bad crumbled over some vanilla ice cream. hypothetically, of course.
coconut chocolate chip muffins
adapted from comfy belly
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 super ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup chocolate chips
turbinado sugar, for dusting

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. combine the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl. combine wet ingredients in a small bowl. stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

grease a muffin tin and fill each hole about 2/3 of the way full with batter. bake about 10 minutes, then sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top. bake another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. remove, let cool, and enjoy!