This recipe of the cauliflower blooms with the rustic flavors of almost roasted tomatoes and ginger cooked in the fragrant mustard oil.
I am back! Thanks to all of you for your emails and comments and concerns and for “being there” while I was not. It definitely feels wonderful to be a part of a community with so much understanding and concern where we have not even met one another… strong bonds. Thank you.
We are fine. Sometimes life takes sudden turns, shocking, and painful which throws us into disbelief that it is really happening…a tragic loss. And when it happens to someone you know, you are close to.. it is harder. One just wants some time to breathe in, to come to terms… one also learns to appreciate life, every moment, everyone we know is to be cherished, grabbed, enjoyed and make it worth to be thankful for. Life itself is very very delicate. One little family needs all the prayers that they can get, to regain the strength, to move one….
Gobi/Phool Gobi = Cauliflower Tamatar=Tomato
I am in a mission to profess the goodness of Mustard Oil/Shorsher Tel/Sarson tel.
I am also in a mission to convert the cauliflower haters to lovers. Just kidding.. I am not. It is only that we love this vegetable. As ill famed as this flower might be, I don’t think it stinks; I think it is one fantastic thing that absorbs a lot of flavors. Cauliflowers can be made to taste very different with ingredients it is cooked with. This is a very simple dish which uses no spices at all; not a very typical dish made in Bengal, but the aroma of the mustard oil is definitely very east Indian. The flavors here come mainly from the mustard oil and the ginger and tomatoes cooked, almost roasted at high heat in the oil. If you do not have mustard oil, just use any oil. The flavors of the dish will be slightly different but good still.
Mustard oil is thick has very strong and sharp aroma which magically thins down when heated and the sharpness mellows and becomes almost sweet. Other than culinary uses, mustard oil has therapeutic uses like massage, esp. during a cold spell. Smelling the strong flavors also help in opening up the sinuses. In West Bengal and Bihar and some other northern and eastern states of India, mustard oil is as revered as extra virgin olive oil in the Mediterraneans. For some, the aroma is too overpowering. But those who can make it the first few times will get addicted to the flavors of this oil. I would not use mustard oil for deep frying or regular cooking which requires a lot of oil. The best way to use it is to use in smaller amounts to enhance the flavors in a dish.
If you are new to mustard oil, make sure you buy only the 100% pure mustard oil. DO NOT buy the mustard “flavored” oil. If it says it is 100% mustard oil (Read the contents and see that it does not have anything else added to it) but mentions “only for external use“, go ahead and use it. If it is pure 100% oil , it is really okay for internal use too. Mustard oil is available in most Bangladeshi Grocery Stores, a lot of Indian groceries and also some whole food markets. It is available in Amazon.com too. The best kind of buy is the “Kachchi Ghani” oil, where the oil is cold pressed from the seeds without refining. Back home there are local places where the seeds are processed with minimal equipments (picture of an ox powered mill from Wiki). This is where we would get our oil that was used at home.
Gobi Tamatar/Cauliflower with Tomatoes
- 1 big cauliflower, florets broken into medium sized pieces
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (Optional)
- 2 large tomatoes, grated
- 1″ fresh ginger, grated
- 1 hot green pepper, slit
- 1.5 tablespoons oil + 1.5 tablespoons oil, preferably pure mustard oil for a very different flavor
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
Sprinkle the cauliflower florets & potatoes (if you are using them) with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and salt.
Heat 1.5 tablespoons oil in a wide and heavy bottomed pan. Stir fry the cauliflower florets and potatoes if you are using them, till there are small brown spots. Remove from the pan.
Add the mustard oil in the same pan. Heat the oil & add the green pepper, ginger and tomatoes and cook at a very high heat while stirring quickly. This almost chars the tomatoes and there will be a very rustic aroma of the heated mustard oil and the tomatoes and ginger.
After a couple of minutes, once you see the oil separating, add the cauliflowers and potatoes to the pan. Add the turmeric and the chili powder. Stir everything together till well combined & the tomato coats the florets. Tightly cover and cook at low heat till the cauliflowers (& potatoes) are tender but not mushy & falling apart. Do not stir or move them around while they are cooking. It will cook in its own steam. If you see that it has dried up too much before it gets cooked, sprinkle some water and cover it back.
Once the cauliflowers are done, uncover and cook till all the liquid evaporates without tossing or stirring them.
Serve as a side with rice or flat breads.