Cauliflower - is it a flower or vegetable? This is something I have never given a thought until the day I was making this gravy! Apparently, Cauliflower is one of two flowers that are called vegetables. Broccoli is the other flower vegetable. As the leaves surrounding the cauliflower cover up the buds, protecting them up from sunlight, chlorophyll development is hindered there by giving this flower it’s white colored buds. Why this sudden gyaan all of a sudden you wonder? I wanted to share something interesting with the recipe 🙂
When cauliflower is in season - I buy in bulk, clean it up and store in an air tight container in the freezer. As and when required, I take the cauliflower florets and run them in warm water and use it for my recipes. Comes in quite handy, especially when pressed for time. Although I like cutting up the cauliflower in florets, cleaning it is so difficult for me. Occasionally, when I spot a worm I jump up in fear and disgust. So these days, cleaning cauliflower is assigned to the dear husband 😀
One of the best and recommended methods to clean cauliflower is to blanch the florets in hot water with salt and turmeric. It would be easy to take out the clean florets and discard the water. Once the florets are cooled down, pat them dry and store in the freezer in an air tight container. This way, the florets would stay fresh and for longer too.
Moving on to the recipe of Cauliflower Kuzhambu, this is one of the signature recipes of my mother-in-law. More like her Kurma Kuzhambu, this gravy goes really well with both rice as well as rotis. I have done this Cauliflower Gravy exactly like how my MIL does. She doesn’t use anything fancy and infact, most of her recipes are no-frill ones tasting awesome. For prepating the Kuzhambu, I used the same pan used to make the masala and one can see the charring from edges. And that is how she prepares too! There are no fancy equipment or nonstick pans in her kitchen and yet, her food tastes wonderful.
To make Cauliflower Kuzhambu | Cauliflower Curry
What I used –
To Make Kuzhambu Masala –
- Onion, 1 large
- Tomatoes, 2 medium
- Garlic Pods, 4-5
- Coconut Chopped, ¼ cup
- Fennel Seeds, 1 tsp
- Oil, 1 tsp
To Make Cauliflower Gravy -
- Cauliflower Florets, 5 cups
- Onion, 1 medium
- Sambar Powder, 1 tbsp
- Turmeric Powder, ½ tsp
- Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
- Fresh Curry Leaves, a few
- Oil, 1 tsp
- Salt, as needed
- Water, as needed
Prep Work –
1. In a bowl filled with water, add cauliflower florets along with salt and turmeric powder. Bring the water to boil for 2-3 mins. Strain off the water and remove the florets. Set aside.
2. Chop 1 large onion for masala roughly along with tomatoes. Peel off the garlic skin. Set these ingredients aside. Chop one medium sized onion finely for making the curry and set it aside too.
How I made –
1. To make masala, in a thick bottomed heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Add fennel seeds and let them splutter. Add roughly chopped onion, tomatoes and garlic pods. Cover the pan and cook on a low flame until the onion and tomatoes are cooked. Add chopped coconut and cook for a minute.
2. Remove the onion tomato mixture from heat and let it cool down completely. Grind it into a smooth paste. Set aside.
3. In the same pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Add mustard seeds and as they splutter, add fresh curry leaves. Fry for 10 secs and add finely chopped onion. Fry on low flame until translucent. Add blanched cauliflower.
4. Add sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt required. Fry for 2-3 mins. Add the prepared masala paste. Stir fry for another 2-3 mins. Add 1 cup of water and mix well. Let the gravy boil for 7-10 mins on low flame. Remove from heat.
5. Serve hot with rice or roti.
- Cauliflower is very easy to cook. Don’t blanch it for more than 5 mins and remove the florets first before straining the water.
- Turmeric used while blanching helps remove any odor and acts as a disinfectant.
- If desired, a different pan can be used while making the gravy. I like how the caramelization from onion and tomato adds to the flavor of the gravy – learnt unintentionally from my MIL.
- In case if you don’t have sambar powder, replace it with ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder, ½ ts pf coriander powder and ¼ teaspoon of cumin powder.