Chettinad Cauliflower Masala

Chettinad Cauliflower Masala

Life of a blogger and a food photographer is all about problem solving. Time and time again these skills are tested which is what makes food photography and food blogging one of the hardest things to do. But that is also what makes it very exciting . This Chettinad Cauliflower Masala was the result of one such exciting episode.

A little backstory

I did a giveaway for the blog a few months bag and two winners received a free online cooking class. For one of them I was to cook (and teach) Chettinad Chicken . Everything was well planned- recipe curated, indian groceries checked and stocked up ¬†participant emailed, calendars blocked. Everything except one minor detail was left to the last minute-buying chicken. My closest supermarket is 10 minutes away on foot and I decided to fetch the chicken a couple of hours before the class as my freezer was full. I could pick and cook it right away without the need to freeze you see ūüôā

Well! I had not planned it as well I thought. This was early COVID -19 days when people were stocking everything from toilet paper rolls to eggs and chicken of course!!! So, as luck would have it, the aisles were empty and forget our favourite brand, none of our lesser favourites were available either! I literally had two hours before the class started. It was time to problem solve! What could I swap chicken with? Something which absorbs flavours as well while retaining its own? Cauliflower!!!! My brain instantly replied! Thankfully I spotted some fresh looking Australian cauliflower heads in the aisles and dashed to lay my hands on one before someone else could. That is how this Chettinad Cauliflower Masala happened thanks to the hoarders who emptied the supermarket aisles off chicken!

Tips to making great Chettinad Cauliflower Masala

  1. Shallow fry the cauliflower and poke holes into it so the masala seeps into it well
  2. If not frying, blanch it in salted boiling water . Same reason as above, for the masala to seep
  3. Use freshly desiccated coconut. Even frozen version will do as long as its fresh coconut . That gives the best results. Alternatively you can use dry desiccated coconut soaked for 30 minutes in some coconut milk
  4. Freshly roast the dry spices and prepare the Chettinad Masala right before cooking or not more than 2 days before. If you are preparing the spice mix in advance then keep it refrigerated and bring to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking
  5. As with most Indian recipes that involve frying onions, do not rush the frying process. The onions need to be very well cooked, a deep brown in colour and not just translucent
  6. This dish tastes best when the flavours to soak in for a couple of hours before serving. If you are cooking it for a gathering, cook it the night before

Enjoying Chettinad Cauliflower Masala

  1. Best enjoyed with hot chapatis or parathas but tastes great with daal rice too
  2. Keep a bowl of yogurt or raita handy as it does test your spice tolerance . Tang yogurt works well with spicy Chettinad masala
  3. And last but not the least, squeeze some lime and salt over raw onions and complete your spicy Chettinad meal!

Recipe for Chettinad Cauliflower Masala

Ingredients For Chettinad Masala
  1. Desiccated coconut, fresh or dry: 1/2 cup
  2. Coriander seeds: 1.5 tbsp
  3. Fennel seeds: 1 tbsp
  4. Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  5. Mace: 1
  6. Green cardamom: 4
  7. Cloves: 4
  8. Star Anise: 1
  9. Cinnamon stick: 1.5 inch
  10. Black Pepper corns: 3/4 tsp
  11. Dried Red Chilies: 4-6
Ingredients For the Cauliflower Curry
  1. Medium sized cauliflower, washed and cut into 2-3 inch florets or as desired : 1
  2. Red onion, chopped fine: 1.5 cups
  3. Tomato, chopped fine: 3/4 cup
  4. Potatoes, cubed: 1 cup (optional)
  5. Curry leaves: 15-20
  6. Green chilies, slit lengthwise : 2 or to taste
  7. Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
  8. Coriander, chopped fine: 1.5 tbsp
  9. Salt: 1.5 tsp + 1/2 tsp
  10. Water: 1 cup or as needed
  11. Oil
Method
  1. In a thick bottomed pan dry roast the whole spices until fragrant for approximately 3-5 minutes on a low flame stirring continuously . Keep aside
  2. In the same pan toast the desiccated coconut until it just about starts to change colour to light brown. Keep the flame low and stir continuously
  3. Turn off the heat and add the roasted whole spices to the toasted coconut, give it a nice mix and keep aside until it comes down to room temperature ; then blend in a high speed blender to a coarse powder
  4. If blanching the cauliflower , add the florets to boiling water with 1/2 tsp salt, turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Then drain and set aside
  5. The other option is to shallow fry the florets and potatoes until they are 80% cooked and drain the excess oil on a kitchen towel. This method although tad indulgent is recommended for a better flavour
  6. In the same pan add a tablespoon of oil and once oil is hot reduce flame to medium and  add curry leaves. Sauté for a few minutes then add onions and fry them until nice and brown, then add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes till they are cooked through
  7. Add the prepared Chettinad spice mix , give it a nice mix and cook for 3-5 minutes on a low flame until the spices are well incorporated with tomatoes and onion mixture and fat starts to release. Halfway through the process you can also add a tablespoon of ghee for enhanced flavours
  8. Add slit green chilies, turmeric powder and salt and mix well; then add blanched/ fried cauliflowers and potatoes to the above mixture and give it a nice mix gently making sure not to break the florets ; let it cook on a very low flame for five minutes with intermittent stirring
  9. Then add 1 cup water and mix well; bring it to boil, then cover and simmer till done; taste for salt and adjust as needed after adding water. Adjust the water based on the required consistency of gravy. Do keep in mind however that once the curry cools down it would thicken a bit
  10. Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with chapatis or rice
Chettinad Cauliflower Masala

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 100

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

    Ingredients For Chettinad Masala
  • Desiccated coconut, fresh or dry: 1/2 cup
  • Coriander seeds: 1.5 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Mace: 1
  • Green cardamom: 4
  • Cloves: 4
  • Star Anise: 1
  • Cinnamon stick: 1.5 inch
  • Black Pepper corns: 3/4 tsp
  • Dried Red Chilies: 4-6
  • Ingredients For the Cauliflower Curry
  • Medium sized cauliflower, washed and cut into 2-3 inch florets or as desired : 1
  • Red onion, chopped fine: 1.5 cups
  • Tomato, chopped fine: 3/4 cup
  • Potatoes, cubed: 1 cup (optional)
  • Curry leaves: 15-20
  • Green chilies, slit lengthwise : 2 or to taste
  • Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander, chopped fine: 1.5 tbsp
  • Salt: 1.5 tsp + 1/2 tsp
  • Water: 1 cup or as needed
  • Oil

Instructions

  1. In a thick bottomed pan dry roast the whole spices until fragrant for approximately 3-5 minutes on a low flame stirring continuously . Keep aside
  2. In the same pan toast the desiccated coconut until it just about starts to change colour to light brown. Keep the flame low and stir continuously
  3. Turn off the heat and add the roasted whole spices to the toasted coconut, give it a nice mix and keep aside until it comes down to room temperature ; then blend in a high speed blender to a coarse powder
  4. If blanching the cauliflower , add the florets to boiling water with 1/2 tsp salt, turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Then drain and set aside
  5. The other option is to shallow fry the florets and potatoes until they are 80% cooked and drain the excess oil on a kitchen towel. This method although tad indulgent is recommended for a better flavour
  6. In the same pan add a tablespoon of oil and once oil is hot reduce flame to medium and add curry leaves. Sauté for a few minutes then add onions and fry them until nice and brown, then add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes till they are cooked through
  7. Add the prepared Chettinad spice mix , give it a nice mix and cook for 3-5 minutes on a low flame until the spices are well incorporated with tomatoes and onion mixture and fat starts to release. Halfway through the process you can also add a tablespoon of ghee for enhanced flavours
  8. Add slit green chilies, turmeric powder and salt and mix well; then add blanched/ fried cauliflowers and potatoes to the above mixture and give it a nice mix gently making sure not to break the florets ; let it cook on a very low flame for five minutes with intermittent stirring
  9. Then add 1 cup water and mix well; bring it to boil, then cover and simmer till done; taste for salt and adjust as needed after adding water. Adjust the water based on the required consistency of gravy. Do keep in mind however that once the curry cools down it would thicken a bit
  10. Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with chapatis or rice
https://onewholesomemeal.com/chettinad-cauliflower-masala/

Chettinad Cauliflower Masala

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: