Cauliflower bhaat or cauliflower khichadi was what mum would make when we returned home after a tiring day out. You and I would probably order a takeaway meal but mum used to roll up her sleeves and prepare this cauliflower rice, promising that dinner would be ready in a jiffy. While that claim is absolutely true, this meal is also a throwback to a time when the takeaway as an option didn’t really exist and eating out was mainly to celebrate special occasions.
I must admit that at the end of the day we did enjoy eating a hot and wholesome homemade dinner – it was usually accompanied by prawn pickle or crispy papad and some cool dahi raita(tomatoes and cucumber in yoghurt).
I now find that I often channel my mum and dish up cauliflower rice on weekdays when I’m short of time. It’s still as satisfying, in every way possible.
1 cup Basmati (or any other long grained rice)
2 baby cauliflowers, cut into florets (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup green peas
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 tbsp oil
2 large onions – cut horizontally into thick slices
1 inch stick cinnamon
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp Pathare Prabhu sambhar masala*
salt to taste
- Wash and drain the rice. Set aside for 10 mins.
- Heat oil, add cloves & cinnamon. Saute till fragrant.
- Add the onions & fry till lightly pink.
- Now add the cauliflower, peas, salt, turmeric, chilli powder and Pathare Prabhu sambhar masala*. Sprinkle a little water. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- In the mean time, heat the ghee in another pan & saute the rice for 3-4 minutes.
- Now add the rice to the pan with cauliflower and peas. Add water and cook till done.
- Serve hot with some tomato-cucumber raita on the side.
- Pathare Prabhu sambhar masala* is a spice blend unique to the Pathare Prabhu community. It is similar to a garam-masala blend but the ingredients are different. If you don’t have access to this masala, you can use cumin-coriander powder (dhania-jeera powder) or omit it altogether.
- If you are in a hurry, you can omit step 5. However, you will need to make sure that you add just enough water to your rice so that it doesn’t turn to much. What you want are rice grains that are well cooked but can be fluffed with a fork.
- To make a vegan version, simply omit the ghee and saute the rice in a little oil.
- You can also add prawns to this dish. Marinade the prawns in lemon, tumeric, chilli powder and salt. Add these after step 4, when the cauliflower and peas have been cooked for a few minutes.