Okay, so I know a lot of you aren't huge Indian food fans. I get that. There are some spices used that we here in the States aren't that familiar with. However, if you are up for trying something new and you want a really easy side dish that goes along with a grilled steak then you should try out this cauliflower curry recipe. I love it!
Note: If you think this looks awful, you may be happier checking out my grilled french fries side dish! I won't be upset. Indian food isn't for everyone.
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
4-5 T vegetable oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 and 1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1 serrano chili pepper
As I mention above, this is a great side dish for a cookout especially for a steak. To me a good steak side dish has to be easy to make and can be made ahead of time so you aren't dealing with 3 dishes at once during the last 10 minutes of your grilling. This dish can be made hours ahead of time, covered in foil and put in the oven right before you light your grill.
A little bit of background: I love Indian food. It all started with a fantastic Indian restaurant in Baltimore, MD that I lived very close to. Oh did we love this place. After I graduated from school and moved out of the city I got a job near an Indian buffet in Washington D.C. This took my love of Indian food to a whole new level because not only was there buffet variety, but I could also pack myself so full of food that the rest of the work day wasn't even possible.
Now, one of my friends is from India and she gave me a "masala dabba" which means an Indian spice dish. It's a really cool circular container that holds all of the common Indian spices. She brought it back from India with her just for me. I pick her brain all the time about how to prepare various Indian foods and she is majority of the source for this recipe. This dish is officially called "Gobi Masala" but cauliflower curry works too!
There are really only a few steps to this recipe
1- Heat cumin and mustard seeds in oil until they pop
2- Sautee onion, garlic, ginger and chili
3- Add dry spices
4- Pour over chopped cauliflower
5- Bake at 425 degrees F for 45 min
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Chop half of an onion, the garlic, ginger and the serrano chili pepper. If you have never used fresh ginger before just cut off the skin until you get to the really fragrant interior. Dice the ginger just like you would the garlic. Oh does it smell good!
A common Indian cooking method is to cook dry seeds in oil until they "pop." This provides such a unique aroma and really flavors the oil well. Place all of the vegetable oil in the pan and pour in the mustard and cumin seeds once you see that the oil is hot. I do this over medium/medium high heat.
After about 5 minutes you should hear some popping and splattering. Also you will get a nutty smell. This is perfect. Let things pop for about 20-40 seconds and then add in all the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper.
Keep stirring things around over medium heat until the onions are soft. Once the onions are soft mix in the dry spices and stir around for about 30 seconds. Immediately pour this over top of the uncooked cauliflower. Be sure to add the dry spices (tumeric, garam masala, salt) at the last minute or they can burn. Pour 1/4 cup water over the cauliflower. This will help steam the cauliflower and make it really nice and soft.
I put the cauliflower into a 8x8 glass dish and cover with foil. This entire thing can go right into the oven for about 45 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to cook this later you can leave the whole mix sitting out for a few hours and bake the cauliflower while you are grilling.
I just love this as a side dish to steak. It is so soft and the spices are just phenomenal. The tumeric is what give this dish the yellow color and the sautéed onions get so flavorful after being cooked with all of the Indian spices. Fantastic!