Thursday, February 26, 2009

Foodie Friday Week 2 - Some Like It Hot: Phool Gobhi aur Tamatar

My husband loves Asian cuisine, especially when it's highly spiced. He likes it so much, that sometimes I strongly suspect that one of the reasons he married me was because I owned a wok! Several woks and thirty odd years later, I'm still making Asian dishes, usually 3 or 4 times per week, and I really don't mind one bit. It's a healthy way to eat when you stay away from the deep (fried) end of things.

Recently, we shared a Vietnamese style dish, Scallops with Asian Noodle Salad,
It made a nice Sunday night supper.
We always enjoy Spicy Chicken with Fresh Orange. It definitely has Szechwan roots, and is simple to prepare.
It's a perfect meal for a busy weekday. (We like it served over lettuce. This keeps the calories down, and the cold lettuce is a nice contrast to the spiciness.)
A few weeks ago, we added a new Indian dish to the ever expanding repertoire.
Phool Gobhi aur Tamatar, (cauliflower and tomatoes), is an extraordinary way to brighten up a very ordinary head of cauliflower.
Served with Tilapia that was sprinkled with salt and pepper, lightly dusted with flour and pan seared, it made a tasty and satisfying dinner that was very low in calories yet high in flavor.
Like most Asian recipes, there's quite a bit of prep work, but then the cooking is quick.
Ingredients: 1 T. safflower oil 1 T. fresh ginger root, minced
1/2 C. onion, finely chopped 2 large cloves, garlic, minced
1/2 t. mustard seeds or 1/4 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. turmeric
1-2 t. garam marsala or 1/3 t. each ground cumin, ground coriander and black pepper
1-2 fresh or dried chili peppers, seeded and chopped
***Important note here: I stopped using chili peppers years ago and substitute Vietnamese chili garlic sauce. It's easy to use, lasts forever in the fridge, and provides a nice even heat in spicy dishes. In this recipe I used about a teaspoon. Use more or less to suit your taste.
More ingredients: One small head of cauliflower, divided in to small florets
One large ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
1-2 T. fresh lemon juice
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
Now we're ready to cook! Heat the oil in a large nonstick wok or fry pan, and saute the onion, garlic and ginger until soft.
Add the spices and peppers and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the cauliflower florets and toss until they are evenly coated with the onion mixture. (Now I know why my wooden spoons have singed handles!)
Stir in the tomato, reduce heat, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy. (I had to add more chopped tomato and a bit of water to keep the mixture cooking.)
Add lemon juice. And garnish with the cilantro.
I forgot the cilantro garnish and put the camera away. I was too intoxicated by the aromas swirling through the kitchen and sat down to eat, but you've all seen cilantro so I thought you wouldn't mind.

BTW: There is a downside to this dish. If you cook with wooden spoons, they will turn a lovely shade of greenish yellow.
After a few washings, your spoon will return to it's normal color, but your tastebuds may never be the same!
For many more epicurean delights please visit Designs by Gollum and see the full list of bloggers participating in Foodie Friday.


  1. Now this looks like a fun thing to make! And I love your presentation of your food on those square red plates. I liked your napkins with the red design and napkin rings.

    Thanks for sharing this. I love to see foods for the Orient.

    Happy FF!


    Sheila :-)

  2. I've always been too intimidated to attempt Asian food; but your photos and words make me think I can do this! Yes! I am all for food that is an airborne siren song and makes one forget the camera.
    I smiled at your wok story. I think Dr. Gollum married me because I knew how to make lemon pie. :-)

    First things first. I must look for a wok!

  3. Love your dish, and napkins! I do love this food! I love cooking this. It all looks so wonderful!

  4. This looks wonderful. I need to go outside my little box and try cooking Asian.

  5. You had me at your first dish of scallops!! All of them look so good...maybe it's time to get a wok!

    Love the red dishes and the tulips made me yearn for Spring even more!!

  6. Wow, does this look GOOD and healthy! Great presentation, too!

  7. When we were newly married my husband ordered a wok from tv in the middle of the night--I got the hint! I just love your square plates!

  8. Wow! This looks very interesting! I have never had the nerve to try to cook a lot of Asian cuisine...maybe I should try! Have a great weekend...Debbie

  9. LOL, my dh married me because I was able to make this Filipino food that he's tasted only a few times in the Philippines! How funny men are sometimes... Anyway, add Chicken Adobo to your repertoire, it's easy to make and try the recipe at Epicurious (dot com) My family recipe's guarded but the Epicurious one is very close. I guarantee your dh will love you even more! Make sure to post about it soon when you try it!

    Carolyn of What Now? Tablescapes

  10. Happy Foodie Friday! I want to ty to make this! Looks delicious!


  11. Hi Nancy Jane! Yum, these dishes look so good! Can I come to your house!?
    Also your gas cooktop looks amazing!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  12. All of this looks delicious. I love asian food, but haven't tried to make much myself other than rather pedestrian stir frys. That scallop dish in particular looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing. Kathy

  13. Mmmmm, everything is so yummy! Love Asian food...Christine

  14. I love Indian flavors and especially any Indian dish with cauliflower in it. I can't wait to try this. Thank you for the recipe and the great tips for substitutions!

  15. I think I've found another new "favorite blog"...this sounds so good. I love your photos and writing style. I'll be back often.


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