Make sure to do your mise en place for this recipe—get your little spice mix and your ginger and chiles all ready before you get started frying things up, otherwise things are likely to burn while you’re measuring the spices. This recipe is very loosely based on one in Neelam Batra’s amazing compendium: 1,000 Indian Recipes. I recommend serving it with the mildly spiced lentil salad with carrots, recipe in post below. You can serve basmati rice, as well, if you like (recipe below).
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1-inch florets
3 medium potatoes, cut into ¾-inch dice
1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 fresh green jalapeno chiles, halved, seeded with a spoon, and minced coarsely (use fewer chiles if you don’t like spicy things)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons peeled minced ginger
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ cup water
½ teaspoon garam masala
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the cauliflower. Boil until just tender, 4 minutes or longer. Scoop the cauliflower out of the water with a slotted spoon or strainer and set aside.
2. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until just tender, 15 minutes or so. Scoop the potatoes out and, if the peas are still frozen, dunk them into the hot water for just a few seconds, until they are thawed. Drain the water off.
3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat and cook the green chiles, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add the cumin and ginger. Quickly add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and salt, then mix in the potatoes and cauliflower, and add about ¼ cup of water. Cover the pan, bring to a simmer, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary to keep things from sticking. When the potatoes are completely soft and tender, add the peas and heat through. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle the garam masala on top, and serve.
I learned this technique from Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven, a great cookbook with lots of healthy, simple vegetable recipes. The rice is cooked using lots of water, which I find works perfectly for brown basmati—it’s never gummy or undercooked this way.
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
1. Fill a medium-sized pot with 10 cups or so of water (it doesn’t need to be exact) and bring to a rolling boil. Add the rice to the water, turn down the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the rice is just tender.
2. Drain the rice in a strainer over the sink, and immediately dump rice back into the hot pot. Cover tightly with the lid and let steam OFF THE HEAT for 20 minutes. Fluff the rice.