Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday: North Indian cauliflower and potato

Cauliflower and potatoes cooked with fenugreek and fennel seeds.

This recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East is apparently a popular North Indian dish. It's commonly served with paratha, but due to time constraints we had to substitute sourdough bread from the freezer.

A note on terminology: some people might call a dish like this "curried" cauliflower and potatoes. The truth is, there isn't really such thing as "curry" - Indian dishes use a great variety of different spices in combinations that vary by season, region and recipe. Generic "curry powders" might include a few of the most common spices - turmeric, coriander, cumin and cayenne - but this doesn't begin to capture the subtlety that can be created by varying types and amounts of spices, and adding them at different stages of the cooking process.

Ironically, a common flavoring in many south Indian regional cuisines is the "curry leaf" - which bears no relationship to commercial curry powders, but does impart its own complex flavor to certain dishes.

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