Stir-Fried Gobi with Ajwain


There is no dearth of gobi recipes on this blog. I’ve posted a recipe for shrimp curry with cauliflower. I’ve posted a recipe for rajma with cauliflower. I’ve posted a recipe for cauliflower-corn soup. I’ve posted four separate takes on alu-gobi (here, here, here and here). I’ve even posted a recipe for oven-roasted spicy cauliflower. But variety, as they say, is the masala of life and so here is yet another gobi recipe. I swear it’s not my “Alu-Gobi with Ajwain” with just the potatoes left out.

This is a very simple stir-fry on the face of it: it features very few ingredients and other than breaking/cutting the cauliflower into very small florets there’s nothing to the prep work. But looks can be deceiving. You have to handle the heat carefully at the outset because if you burn the spices or chillies there’s nothing else coming later to hide the evidence. The primary flavour here is that of ajwain (you might have to go to a desi store for this) but you only need a pinch. A little bit of ajwain goes a long way so resist the temptation to add more.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cauliflower broken/cut up into very small florets
  • 1 pinch ajwain
  • 1/2 tspn zeera/cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dried hot red chillies
  • 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tspn amchur/mango powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 tblspns of neutral oil of choice

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a karhai or wok (carbon steel is best).
  2. When the oil shimmers add the ajwain, zeera and dried red chillies. Keep the chillies moving to prevent them from scorching.
  3. As soon as the cumin seeds split and the red chillies puff up (probably about 30 seconds) dump all the cauliflower into the pan and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the haldi and salt and mix thoroughly.
  5. Stir-fry assiduously, keeping the cauliflower moving constantly, for 7-10 minutes.
  6. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pan for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Uncover and allow any released moisture to evaporate, stirring all the time. If using the amchur, add it now.
  8. Serve with dal and rice or chapatis/parathas or alongside roast chicken.

Notes

  1. I’ve been making this a lot this fall with the cauliflowers I’ve been getting from my garden. My cauliflower harvest has typically been highly variable in the past and it’s the same this year. All the plants went in the ground at the same time. Some produced heads a month ago, others of the same varietals are still sitting tight. Anyway, this is very good with regular white cauliflowers, yellow/orange cauliflowers and with purple cauliflowers.
  2. This dish is not for you if you don’t like your cauliflower at least a bit crunchy. I like it quite crunchy and so don’t always bother with the covering of the pan step.
  3. If you do like it a bit more tender and/or you’re nervous about the spices scorching add a few tablespoons of water to the pan before you cover it.


 

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