March 16, 2014

Shahi Gobi - A Different Take On Cooking Cauliflower

Last night we had Amit's MBA school friends team over for dinner. Typical Indian cuisine was on the cards by popular demand. I had to keep it the restaurant style (known dishes). Even then I wanted to bring something different at the table. So, I thought I would make Shahi Gobi if I find time and energy. Well I eventually did. In my household everyone loves this Shahi gobi preparation especially on hot Nan (Including my boy).
I first tried this out on New Year's day and since then I have made this at least 5 times (not that it took me 5 attempts to perfect the dish but we loved it so much that we wanted more of it.). With every new try I would tweak the recipe a little though.

The best part of this recipe is using a whole cauliflower as opposed to making florets.
The gravy for the dish I would say whatever you are comfortable with but I am going to provide my version here that I think was the best tasting.  It looks absolutely fantastic when the dish is served (If you manage to keep the cauliflower in wholesome).

So, here it goes -
1)  Wash your cauliflower and take the extra leaves off of the flower.
2)  Take a deep cooking dish and place the cauliflower upside down (flower side down).
3)  Fill water only up to the point where it covers the flower portion and leave the stem out of the water.
4)  Add the following in the pot of water-
       Haldi (Turmeric pwd 1 tsp)
       Mirchi Powder (Paprika pwd 1 tsp)
       Dhania+Jeera Powder (Corriander+Cummin pwd 1 tsp)
       Salt - just enough to get absorbed into the flowers.
5) Start your stove and blanch the Cauliflower for just about 10 min on the flower side down and about 3 min after flipping it upside.
  Tip: I wouldn't recommend covering the dish after you flip the cauliflower.
6) Turn off the stove and let it cool for bit .
   Tip: If you have a hot plate/coil please remove it off the stove.

While that is cooling, lets get started with the gravy.

For gravy:
Shallots - (2 to 3) or Red Onion (1) - Sliced/Diced
Roma Tomatoes - (3 to 4) -Sliced/Diced
    Tip: you can use 1 can of Diced Tomatoes, I love the gravy color when I use this.
Thai Green Chili - 2 (Slit)
Turmeric pwder (1/2 tsp)
Garam Masala Powder (2 tsp) (Its an Indian spice mixture available in Indian grocery store)
 Tip: Add more if you like it spicy .
 Tip: Alternatively you can mix whatever (Indian based) spices you have at home. I love it that way.
Garlic Cloves - 3 (Just crushed with a flat knife after pealing)
Roasted Unsalted Peanuts  (about 10)
   Tip: Using 3 to 4 cashews will make it ever more "Shahi" (rich).
Sour Cream or Whipping Cream or Coconut Milk  - For quantity I will leave at your discretion.
   Tip: I have used 1/2 tblsp Organic Greek Yogurt and 2 full tblsp of 2% milk. 
         Using Whipping cream develops better flavor though
         Not using any cream also gives a gratifying flavor.

1) In a sauce pan add 2 Tblsp oil and keep it on medium heat.
2) Add Onions and saute them until its soft.
3) Add Turmeric Powder, Garam Masala and Salt (according to taste) and saute it
4) Add the tomatoes in and cook until tender (not very mushy).
5) Add the Peanuts and saute for another 2 more min
6) Turn off the heat and let it cool down a bit.

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.
After preheat your cooking time should be around 40-45 min if you are serving it immediately.

In the meanwhile lets go back to our cauliflower-

1) Grease deep dish baking pan generously
2) Carefully take it out of the water (we won't use all the water, but save some for the Gravy)
3) Place the Cauliflower in a deep baking dish (Flower side up).
4) Placed the crushed Garlic and the Green Chili's at the bottom of the baking tray

In a blender get the Gravy ingredients that is in the saute pan.
Add your Sour Cream or Whipping Cream or Coconut Milk or Organic Greek Yogurt.
Blend it to almost puree consistency.
Add the Cauliflower blanched water according to your need to thin or thick gravy.
Pour some of the blended gravy at the bottom of the baking pan.
Pour some of it on top of the Cauliflower.
Let the extra gravy fall below at the bottom of the pan
Put a cover on the dish let it cook.
Tip: Preferably don't leave the cooked dish in the oven heat (especially if you plan to re-heat it before serving)

Garnish with cilantro and (may be) grated Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) looks inviting.

Tip: Transfer the cooked dish into a large plate with curved edge (ensuring the flower is wholesome). You can see the whole cauliflower this way while serving and make it a center piece at your dinner serving table.

This weekend's cookout also included these items (including my shahi gobi at the top right corner)

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