Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cauliflower Sambar

"Confessions of a cook book-aholic?" I am a sucker for cook books. I go weak in my knees when I walk through a book store and see all those colorful cook books adorning the shelves. Don't know what I am addicted to - the glossy prints, tempting pictures, smell of the fresh print? Whatever it is, I find it very hard to resist the temptation. Thank god for Amazon - the wish list option and a great spouse who actually is very kind towards my obsession (hope he takes the hint..lol..). I can proudly say I am an avid cook book collector and my loot is prominently displayed in the house. But the most intriguing part of all this is I seldom follow the recipe to the "T", most of the time am in a hurry or just plain lazy to open the book measure the ingredients etc. I curl up with my cook books and read it like I would a regular novel/fiction and if something interests me I make it a point to try it out before it is displaced from my memory. Am sure most of you out there will relate to this. But to be fair, I do once in a while have the cookbook open and follow the recipe meticulously - with great results.

I can categorize my cook books depending on how I use them. For instance, books such as Mark Bittman's How to cook Everything Vegetarian and Jacques Pepin's Complete techniques are my bible/encyclopedia category. There are a few other which I use to look at the pictures and drool :-) And some more which are my go-to books for authentic Indian cooking such as Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan and Cooking at home with Pedatha. I love the simplicity of the recipes and the lovely pictures in Dakshin especially.

The following recipe, cauliflower sambar, is my adaptation of the original recipe found in Dakshin. I took a shortcut by substituting sambar powder where the original recipe calls for grinding the masala. But the end result was very tasty. My husband says it tastes like a hybrid between sambar and korma !!

1 medium sized cauliflower (washed, separated into florets)
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup toor dal
1/4-1/2 cup thick tamarind water (or as required)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 tbsp Sambar Powder
1 tsp turmeric
asafoetida, a pinch

1 tsp urad dal
2 tsp mustard
4-6 curry leaves
2 red chillies
2 tsp oil
A pinch of asafoetida

  1. Pressure cook toor dal along with one cup water and tomatoes, until the dal is well-cooked (normally 4 whistles and wait for the steam to be released naturally). Alternatively, you can cook the dal on the stove top for 30 minutes. Mash the dal and tomatoes well. Set aside.
  2. In a quart pan, heat oil. Add urad dal. Let it turn light brown in color. Now add the mustard. Wait until it starts spluttering. Now add red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  3. Add cauliflower, turmeric, asafoetida and some salt. Saute for a few minutes, until cauliflower is tender.
  4. Add tamarind water. Boil for for 3 minutes or until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.
  5. Add sambar powder. Mix well.
  6. Now add the mashed dal/tomatoes. Taste, adjust salt and seasoning (add more sambar powder if required).
  7. Allow it to boil for a few more minutes. Add the coconut milk. Allow it to boil just for a minute.
  8. Remove from heat. Serve hot with rice, idli, dosa or aappam.

Enjoy !!


Sushma Mallya said...

Using coconut milk in sambar is something new, but surely must be delicious...Nice click rajee..

Shyla said...

I am obsessed with sambar. I'll have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Asha said...

Me too! I am so addicted to cookbooks that I have 4 bookshelves full and when I look at them, sometimes I feel guilty for spending so much money (Yes, most from Amazon too. Most books I haven't even tried but some I do often.

Love the Sambhar, never tried adding Gobi in it, must try!:)

Srivalli said...

wow I never heard of a cauliflower in sambar!..and nice to know your passion for cookbook..:)

Gulmohar said...

Love sambar..In some parts of Kerala people use coconut in sambar, but coconut milk is new

Red Chillies said...

I love grazing through the cookbooks at the stores, and agree amazon is a Godsend.
nice recipe.

Ann said...

Who can resist this.. looks so comforting and delicious.

srividhya Ravikumar said...

Looks awesome.. new to me..

Meena said...

sambhar looks gr8...nice collection of recipes...will be back soon!

shriya said...

Never tried cauliflower in sambar. But love the recipe. Def gonna try it soon.

Shri said...

This must have tasted terrific!My SIL adds coconut milk in sambar and I was thinking of adding it and here you are with a recipe...

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

Rajee, lovely blog. First time here, following you :)

Regarding your question, I add pineapple when I put water/sugar on gas to boil, so that pineapple gets cooked a little.

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Love ur creative twists to a delicious veggie and it seems so simple to make too,would love to relish some rice with this!!

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Maaya said...

the coconut milk adds so much flavor and aroma. looks yummy

Suman said...

bumped in here for the first time...must say nice collection of recipes...all are so inviting...love sambhar...but sambhar with cauliflower is new to me...must try sometime...as cauliflower is always in my fridge...thanks for sharing this!


As an avid cookbook collector I thought I'd invite you to participate in the cookbook giveaway happening on my blog.

Have fun with it,

Anonymous said...

Wow.. I did try this and came out very well, though I used dessicated cocunut instead of milk.. thx

Rajee Mani said...

Thanks a lot :-) Am very glad the recipe worked well for you.