Gobhi Masallam – Stuffed cauliflower with tomato-cilantro sauce

I have another delicious Indian food post for you from the awesome book, Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking by Julie Sahni. Of the dishes I’ve made, this is probably my favorite. It’s a whole cauliflower, lightly steamed, covered in this delicious crust made of almonds, onions, garlic and jalapeños that is baked to perfection. I like to cut it into wedges and serve it on top of some rice with the tomato sauce on top. This meal by itself is a little light, so if you want a light dinner this would be perfect. But for Pat, it’s not enough! So I make a side dish with it. One of the recommended side in the book is Bengali Green Beans and Potatoes Smothered in Mustard Oil, which is really yummy and goes really well.

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Cauliflower served on top of the recommended green bean and potato side dish.

Gobhi Masallam – Stuffed cauliflower with tomato-cilantro sauce

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes 

For the cauliflower

1 1/2 pound cauliflower, left whole with the leaves and core removed
6 tbsp light vegetable oil (not olive oil)
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
6 jalapeños (less if you want less spice), diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fennel
2 tbsp ground almonds*
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp all purpose flour
Handful of raw almonds, roughly chopped

For the sauce

3 tsbp light vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp ground cumin
1 pound ripe tomatoes, pureed
1/2 – 1 cup water
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Preheat the over to 400 degrees F. Steam the cauliflower for about 8 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Measure out the spices from cayenne pepper to the flour and put them on a plate by the stove. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a skillet and cook the onion until brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 2 more minutes. Add the jalapeños, cook for 1 more minute. Add the spices on the plate, cook for 2 more minutes. Add about 1/4 cup of water until the mixture has turned into a thick paste. You might need to add more water. Let this cool for a little bit. I start making the tomato-cilantro sauce while this is cooling.

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The cauliflower all cooked! Those almonds are heavenly.

Place the cauliflower in a baking dish. Take the mixture and stuff the cauliflower by separating the florets with your fingers and stuff some mix in there. This is kind of hard, so do your best! Stuff about half in the cauliflower and then spread the rest over the whole thing. Sprinkle the chopped almonds on top and drizzle the other two tablespoons of oil on top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

To make the tomato-cilantro sauce, puree the tomatoes in a blender.

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onions. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until browned. Add in the cumin, cook for 2 more minutes. Add in the tomatoes and the water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or while the cauliflower is finishing. You may not need to add the water. I’ve found that I prefer the sauce without the water because it can be too thin. Finish the sauce with the cilantro before serving.

Once the cauliflower is done, cut it into four big slices, serve over rice with the tomato sauce on top.

*A lot of recipes in this book call for ground almonds, so I grind a bunch in my magic bullet blender and keep them in the fridge. It’s a time saver!

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