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Cauliflower Peas Subzi

What is it that makes a good cook? Why is it that despite all my trials, my cooking comes no where near my mother’s? My mom always told me, “Cook with love – that makes the difference”. Now, I’ve tried this.. I’ve tried cooking with my heart brimming with love and affection. Love for my recipe, for my ingredients, for my “guinea-pigs” (aka family) even for myself. And for those that don’t know me well enough, I have *literally* spoken words of affection to my food. Yes, that probably is the engineer in me. Anyhow, I’m sorry to report – that cooking this way, although a lot more enjoyable, STILL didn’t come close to my mother’s.

Many say it’s “experience”. Now, experience has told me that experience is just not it. :D Ha! It’s true though. I really don’t believe that simply having years and years of making the same dish over and over again makes someone a good cook. Or a good anything for that matter. May be competent.. but not good. Definitely not great.

Here’s my thought of the day: A great cook is a great experimenter.

I believe to become a truly good cook… nay, a *great* cook (or your favorite noun), you must be an experimenter. You must take what is given to you, for example a recipe, and experiment with it. Tweek it. Modify it. Throw it out. Rewrite it. Mold it. This probably is what my mom means when she tells me to cook with love.

So in an effort to come close to my mother’s cooking, I’m going to focus my cooking on experimenting, starting with some basics. This recipe is a play on a basic Indian vegetable side. Something I grew up eating quite a bit of. It’s fairly easy, tasty and quick to make. The offsetting colors of the yellow cauliflower and the green peas make it quite interesting and beautiful. Please note, the yellow color is due to the turmeric powder. I simply used a regular white cauliflower.

I hope you take this recipe simply as a base.. a base to experiment. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Peas Subzi

Makes: 6 servings
Ready in: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (Omit if vegan. Use SCD legal yogurt if following SCD)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon oil

Directions

1. Chop up the cauliflower into small florets. Larger the florets, the longer it will need to cook.

2. Peel and finely chop the ginger.

3. Finely chop the green chilies.

4. Thinly slice the onion.

5. Chop the tomato into small chunks.

6. Place the frozen peas in a bowl. Cover the peas with water and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

7. Heat the oil on high. Once it is hot, add the cumin seeds. You can test if the oil is hot enough by dropping one or two seeds into the oil. The cumin seed should sizzle.

8. Once cumin seeds crackle, pop and turn into a brown color, add the ginger, green chillies and onion. Saute on medium heat till the onions turn light brown and translucent. Add a little bit of water if the onions look like they might be burning

9. Add the cauliflower, turmeric powder, tomato, green peas, gaaram masala, salt and 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 8 to 10 minutes until the cauliflower becomes tender.

10. Add the yogurt and mix well. Cook on low flame for another 2 – 5 minutes. Serve garnished with coriander.

This recipe is linked at: My Meatless Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Delicious Dishes, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Food, Gluten Free Wednesdays

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6 Responses to Cauliflower Peas Subzi

  1. Linda says:

    I agree, I think experimenting is important. I do experiment a lot, but I think I’m still missing some essential characteristics of a great cook. I keep my family happy, though, and that’s what matters most to me. This looks delicious, except I would substitute something else for the peas, since you are encouraging us to experiment. :)

    • Raj says:

      You fooled me Linda – from everything on your blog – I’d say you’re a pretty darn great cook! :) I’ve tried this recipe with carrots instead of peas.. that tastes pretty good too.

  2. Pingback: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; 9/14/10 : Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  3. Snow says:

    Sounds delicious…. And familiar! I think I will make it tonight. Hmm maybe using both peas and carrot ;)
    Completely identify with your struggles to cook “just like mother”. ( though you are already an accomplished cook! )I think that’s the passion which makes great cooks :) I guess it takes time to sort of let the “cooking ability” in us marinate into what we aim for it to become. Takes time and patience, instinct and a bit of observation, analysis and reflection to nurture the skill …maybe that’s what they mean by “love”?

    • Raj says:

      Hi Snow! How did it go?

      Your thoughts on cooking are magnificent. It really is true — patience and passion are a big key not only to becoming a great cook but enjoying the entire journey to that point. I’m by no means a great cook.. but I do have a lot of passion (maybe not so much patience though :D).

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.. I love reflecting like this.

  4. Pingback: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; 9/14/10 | Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

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