Tandoori Cauliflower with Mint Chutney & Cucumber Raita

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Ok – I am posting this as a sweeping gesture of honesty.  If you follow this blog, you know I am in the throes of a passionate affair with cauliflower.   I have used it to mock Buffalo Chicken and  mashed potatoes & risotto and many other ways.  Check some out HERE.

Tandoori was the next frontier of my cauliflower exploration.  I made the tandoori spice from scratch

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I marinated the cauliflower florets for about 6 hours.

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I used a lot of red food coloring to mock that brilliant tandoori crimson.  I roasted & then broiled the florets until they had blackened bits.

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I also made the mint chutney & cucumber raita from scratch.  The tandoori smelled SO GOOD roasting in my oven, it made me salivate.  Smelled good!  Looked GOOD!  When the cauliflower was done, I sat down with my little bowls of condiments & my tandoori cauliflower & eagerly popped a hot floret into my mouth.  It was then that the first wave of crushing disappointment hit me.  The floret tasted like someone had just poured a tablespoon of cumin into my mouth.  YUCK.  Secondly, the raw cauliflower hadn’t sufficiently tendered during the 25 minutes of roasting & subsequent broiling & was still too crunchy.  I am not sure how it all went so wrong.  Maybe I need to invest in a spice grinder.  Maybe my cardamom & coriander seeds were not properly pulverized by the mortal & pestle treatment I had given them.  The florets were definitely in more than enough moisture (yogurt) but they were still oddly dry & just WAY too heavily spiced.

I am not giving up on this idea, though.  Maybe I will buy a jarred tandoori paste & see what that turns out like.

My raita – on the other hand – turned out pretty good.  The mint chutney was OK, too, but not the best I’ve ever had.  The recipe still needs tweaking.  But – if you are curious – I will post the recipes for the condiments here now.

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Mint Chutney

1 cup mint

1 bunch cilantro

2 TBS yogurt

1 tsp ground cumin

4 serrano peppers (this makes a VERY hot chutney – so reduce this if you desire) – seeded

1 TBS ginger paste or 1 inch chunk fresh ginger

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Puree in a food processor & salt to taste.

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Cucumber Raita

1 1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 cup water

1/2 – 1 cucumber – peeled & grated

1/2 sweet onion

1 jalapeno – seeded

2 serrano – seeded

salt to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Peel & grate the cucumber.  Reserve some of the rated cucumber to the side & then puree the rest with all the other ingredients.  Salt to taste.  Add the reserved grated cucumber.

4-22-13 (47)

Tomato, Jalapeno & Cucumber Yogurt Raita

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Ok – I finally did it!  I made a raita that I actually like and it was EASY.  Again – a food processor makes this a supremely easy thing to make.  Raitas are condiments used as a sauce, a dip or something to cool one’s palette during a spicy meal.  They vary from firm to watery in texture. I find I prefer the watery ones.  This one is right in the middle.

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Tomato, Jalapeno & Cucumber Yogurt Raita

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 small onion

1/2 cucumber

1 tomato – quartered

2 Jalapenos – seeded

1 tsp (or more – to taste) ground cumin

Salt & pepper to taste (go LIGHT with the salt as it overpowers this dish quickly)

Cilantro – for garnish

Extra diced tomato or Jalapeno makes nice garnish, too.

DIRECTIONS

Put the yogurt in the food processor & whip it smooth.  Add the cumin & pulse until it is blended.  Drop the onion in & pulse til it is chopped finely.  Add the cucumber & jalapenos and pulse until they are chopped but not as fine as the onion.  Add the tomato & pulse a few times so that it appears diced – but bits are still clearly identifiable as tomato.

Put it in a bowl & garnish with cracked pepper, cilantro & tomato & jalapeno – if you are using them.

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