Before the nail biting coldness of winter wanes, into warmth of a promising spring, here is a series of Winter Special Posts, starting from today that will feature some of the winter favourites of our home.
First in the series is –
Bengali style aloo phulkopi dalna or kosha / aloo gobhi matar ki sabzi but in a true Bong style, that is without onions and garlic.
Before the last of the cauliflower, fresh green peas and new potatoes bid adieu from the local markets, here is that lip smacking aloo gobhi matar that promises to make any meal scrumptious.The best of season’s goes into the simmering pot – cauliflowers, fresh green peas and new potatoes in their tender jackets, tossed in hot mustard oil, chunks of roasted tomatoes that lends an undeniable tangy taste to the dish and ravishing red color to the gravy , scented with earthy cumin, the holy 3 C’s cinnamon- cardamom – cloves with a hint of green chillies for the heat.
Vegetables, herbs and greens taste better in Winter, unless they are summer produce, and this is so true with the cauliflowers. By any means, cauliflowers taste way better in winter than in any other season. In Bengal, people usually awaits winter to savor the scrumptious dishes made out of season’s first cauliflower, fresh green peas and new baby potatoes in their pale skin. While fresh green peas and new baby potatoes do the routine rounds of finger licking koraishutir kochuri and dum aloo, cauliflowers however has other goals, like enticing flaky and crispy phulgobhi singara / samosa (not many people are aware of this) and this – aloo phulkopi dalna or kosha.
If you love shrimps / prawns you can also try this – cauliflower – prawn curry, another winter favourites in our home.
There are two ways of making this curry – typical Bengali style aloo phulkopi dalna; dalnas which are richly spiced and with considerable amount of gravy or as kosha or semi roasted , a kind of dry dish with clingy gravy. This typical Bengali dish is different from its hugely popular north Indian aloo-gobhi-matar ki sabzi in that the Bengali version does not use onions and garlic in it. But then, that’s how we Bengali prepares any vegetarian dishes for that matter.
The secret of making a good, totally delectable aloo-phulkopi kosha is that you need to fry the cauliflowers in hot oil till it absorbs golden – brown hue. The skill of chef determines how much oil is going to be used here. Cauliflowers drinks oil like anything, so a skillful chef / cook will know how to fry them in minimum oil. And not just cauliflowers, potatoes too need a good toss in hot oil.
- Cauliflower : 1 (very good quality)
- Potatoes (new ones) : 2-3medium sized
- Fresh green peas, shelled : 1 cup
- Tomatoes, ripe ones ; 2-3 cut into big chunks
- Ginger, grated : 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder : ½ tsp, depending upon the spiciness
- Cumin powder : 1½ tsp
- Green chillies, slitted: 2-3
- Salt to taste
- Sugar : 2 tsp
- Mustard oil : ¼ cup
- Refined oil to fry the cauliflower as requires
- Bay leaves : 2
- Whole cinnamon, cardamom, cloves : 1-2-3 piece respectively;
- Chopped cilantro : a light handful
- Ghee : 1 tbsp
- Cut the cauliflower florets into medium size pieces. Do not cut them too small.
- Wash properly and soak them in hot salted water for 5 minutes.
- Wash and peel the potatoes, cut them into long wedges.
- In a pan, add some refined oil and fry the cauliflower florets till brown. To fry the cauliflower florets in less oil, sprinkle the oil with salt and fry it in low medium heat. Keep the pieces separately while frying, do not overcrowd the pan . Each piece should touch the oil properly.
- Once the cauliflower florets are tender and has absorbed beautiful golden-brownish hues, slot them on kitchen towel until further required.
- In a kadhai, heat the mustard oil, Temper the oil with cumin seeds, add the potato wedges and fry them till they become golden.
- Into the same oil, add further the grated ginger and tomatoes. Toss them in oil for few minutes, add fresh green peas, followed by cauliflower
- Start adding all the spices, salt, sugar and give everything a nice stir.
- Cook or braise / bhuno on low medium heat till the tomatoes melts, oil starts separating and everything begin to look nice with deep rich color. This may take around 15-20 minutes.
- Sprinkle little hot water over it, just to moisten the kadhai a bit.
- Cover and cook the curry in low heat till done.
- If requires, sprinkle water from time to time.
- Once done, oil will float on top. And both cauliflowers and potatoes should be tender and well done by this time.
- Stir in chopped cilantro if you may want and also drizzle a spoonful of ghee over it.
- Serve warm with pooris or Bengali sweet pulao
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