Wednesday

Peas Flower Potato Stir Fry/Bhaji- Straight from Moms kitchen.

Hello Dearies!! Its officially the end of the year and the winter setting in. The cold air cracks my bones and all I yearn is for some hot and home cooked food. The bitter cold and the short days  make me lazy and put me in no mood to cook. Memories from the past; my moms humble kitchen make its appearance more often than I wish. They do offer solutions and ideas to quickly assemble dinner but they do leave a strong impact on the way my dishes taste poles apart than my moms. I always blame it on the produce we get here. The fruits and veggies from back home always have a fullness in them, the flavors are intact and they do not seem fiddled with. Few memories of my growing up food habits were the hot Phulka with ghee smeared on it from the stove to the plate, at times too hot to handle, stuffed with vegetable of the day with a cup of chai. This was my breakfast most days. We did not have pancake and waffle or even cereal at breakfast with fruit yogurt by the side. Fruit yogurts and parfaits were unknown to our narrow minds. Mixing sugar with yogurt meant only shrikhand and only fruit allowed to mix with yogurt was mango to make amrakhand.

 I make cauliflower bhaji just like how  I remember my Aai making it. Cauliflower was  a regular on our weekly menu. It cooks fast, absorbs any spice you add to it,  can be made into a curry or a stir fry, and is relatively easy on the pocket also. Adding peas and potato to it was just the need of the hour, you have more hungry tummies add another potato, picky eaters add peas. There are many ways to make the Cauliflower bhaji. Today I am bringing you one of the ways it was cooked at my moms home. This is an everyday subji, so the masalas are kept to a minimum. The flavor and taste comes essentially from the curry leaves and green chilies and at times from ginger-garlic. I come from a humble brahmin family where use of eggs and meat was prohibited. My Family was very modern and secular in thoughts and way of living, that we were never forbidden to eat eggs or meat or fish in the name of religion. We were allowed to taste in restaurants and if we liked we were allowed to eat them. It was however not cooked at our home mainly because my mom had no clue on how they need to be prepared, marinaded and cooked. Once I grew up, I got the fish from the fisher women, she showed me how to clean it, marinate it and make delish recipes from it. They say people teach you in many ways if you are willing to learn. All I needed was to tell her how much I loved Fish and she became my teacher. I had friends all over the market, as I started doing the household vegetable shopping from very young age, so when I accompanied my mom, she was amused at how the vendors got different and fresher produce for me from inside the shacks, asked about my studies and school and how they chatted with me like we are old lost friends. She was even treated to a cup of tea by one of the vendors. Its a big thing for all the demand is respect for their work and some care on your part. Mutual respect is a trait that we are slowly forgetting as we move ahead in science and prosperity. The richer we get, more self centered we become. More on that later, Phew!!! Do my rants ever end!!!!

You will need;
1 whole  Head Cauliflower diced into strips
** Use your judgement on the size of the cauliflower and the size of your guests at the dinner table. The measure I am giving are for roughly 2 cups of diced cauliflower
1 Medium Potato Diced
1/2 cup boiled peas
Salt to taste
1 Tbspn Cumin and Coriander powder
Cilantro to garnish

Tempering
2 Tbspn oil
1 tspn Mustard seeds
1 tspn Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Haldi/Turmeric
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger grated
5-6 curry leaves
2 medium hot green chillies

Take a bigger bowl and immerse the diced cauliflower in salted water to remove dirt and any worms. Drain after 10 mins. Keep aside. In a wok, heat the oil, add the tempering one by one in the same order, after you add the green chilies, add the diced cauliflower, potato and peas and add little water if needed. Cover and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Stir in between to avoid burning. once coked, add the salt and cumin-coriander powder and stir again. Take care as to not mush the florets. This stir fry tastes better if the cauliflowers retain some crunch and the potatoes do not mush. Cook on low to medium heat, and keep stiring in between. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy with some hot phulkas with a dallop of ghee. This was the way my mom served it., this is the way I serve it.


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