The cauliflower is butter soft, delicately seasoned with a yoghurt and spice mixture, nestled into a beautiful rice dish. You will be amazed at this rice-cauliflower combination from Yamanu Devi.
The cauliflower is stir-fried until slightly golden before a yoghurt-coconut-spice mixture is folded in. Then the cauliflower is steamed to tenderness with spiced rice. A perfect dish for entertaining too.
Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf
for the cauliflower
0.25 cup coconut – I like to use frozen, grated coconut
1 Tblspn finely chopped green chillies
1 Tblspn finely chopped or grated ginger
3 Tblspns chopped green coriander (cilantro)
0.5 cup yoghurt
0.5 tpn turmeric powder
1 tspn salt
0.25 tspn black pepper, ground
3 Tblspns ghee
1 small cauliflower – about 400g
for the rice
1 cup basmati or other long grain rice
3 Tbslpns ghee
1 Indian bay leaf (Teja Patta) or 2 cloves
1.5 tspn cumin seed
0.5 tspn balck mustard seed
2 large black or 4 large green cardamon pods, slightly crushed
1.75 – 2 cups water
1 tspn jaggery
lemon or lime wedges for garnish
First, wash your rice in 2 changes of water, swirling it around by hand and draining each time. Then soak the rice in warm water for 10 minutes – this allows the rice to absorb some water and it relaxes the grains. Drain the rice, reserving the water, and spread the rice out to air dry for 15 – 20 mins.
Meanwhile, wash your cauliflower, trim it and cut into flowerets about 2.5 x 2 x 1.5 cm.
Combine the coconut, green chillies, ginger, green coriander and yoghurt in a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape into a small bowl, add the turmeric, salt and pepper and mix.
to cook the cauliflower
Heat the 3 Tblspn ghee in a heavy kadhai or saucepan over a moderately high heat until it is hot. Drop in the cauliflower flowerets and stir-fry for 5 or so minutes until the cauliflower has light brown edges.
Pour in the yoghurt mixture and stir well. Reduce the heat slightly and fry until the cauliflower is dry and half-cooked. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cauliflower to a small bowl. Wipe out the kadhai or saucepan.
to cook the rice
Heat 1.5 Tblspn of ghee in the pan (now cleaned) over moderate heat. Add the mustard seeds and allow to pop. Add the bay leaf or cloves, cumin seeds and cardamom pods. After a moment or two, add the rice and stir fry with the spices for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the water and jaggery and bring the rice to a rapid boil. Add the cauliflower, reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer gently, without lifting the lid, for 20 – 25 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the fragile grains to firm up.
Just before serving, add the remaining 1.5 Tblspn ghee and fluff the rice with a fork.
Place in a serving dish. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice over the top and garnish with lemon or lime wedges or slices.
You can read more about Indian Bay Leaves (Teja Patta) here.