When you think of curry, how many of you think of that bright yellow powdered spice mixture, or a veggie or tofu dish made with it? Yeah? Me too. Or at least I did, until my first look through the newest addition to my cookbook collection, Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. Then I learned that “curry” is actually a thin sauce, so calling something a curry refers to the sauce, not the specific flavors. Interesting, isn’t it? And that’s just one of the new pieces of information that I’ve picked up since getting the book.
By far, Indian food is one of my favorites. I’ve been to India several times, and have even taken some lessons to try to learn how to create that unique spicing of food that is so elusive for those who didn’t grow up with it. But now, with Richa’s new book, creating all of your vegan Indian favorites can easily be done!
The first thing you will notice when you pick it up is how incredibly beautiful it is. Richa does all her own photography and it’s spectacular. It features color photos of most of the recipes, with an easy-to-read format and everything clearly labeled for those with allergies, and everything is gluten-free or can be made so. It’s easily one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve seen.
And then the recipes – everything you’ll want to make is included, from dals and sambar to samosas and pakoras, chutneys and main dishes of all kinds. There is so much information, including the spices, ingredients and tools needed, as well as the specific techniques used to create the flavors. Richa brings you right into the world of Indian cooking.
You can win a copy of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen by leaving a comment below, telling why you’d like to win. Comment by next Sunday, June 14 and I’ll randomly choose one and announce the winner on Monday, June 15. Or you can purchase a copy here!
UPDATE: And the winner is…. Natalie! Natalie, please send me your address or I’ll be in touch to get it. Congratulations!
And now for the star of our show ~
Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets (Gobi 65)
Prep: 20 minutes | Active: 20 minutes | Inactive: 30 minutes | Serves 4
There are a few fried cauliflower (gobi) appetizers offered in Indian restaurants. One of the most common ones is Gobi 65, a spicy fried cauliflower in a cornstarch and flour batter with curry leaves. This is a baked version of Gobi 65. You can also fry the cauliflower for a restaurant-style version. Serve alone or with a side of mint-cilantro or coconut chutney. To make these gluten-free, use 1/2 cup chickpea flour + 1/4 cup rice flour instead of unbleached all-purpose flour. (Recipe from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen Copyright © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, chile garlic sauce, or other hot sauce
- 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger
- 4 cloves garlic
- 12 curry leaves (see note below)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil
- Safflower oil spray, as needed
- 4 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets
- 1 teaspoon safflower or other neutral oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green or red bell pepper
- 10 curry leaves, chopped (see note below)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Blend all the ingredients for the batter in a blender and blend until smooth and pasty. Transfer to a large bowl. If the batter is too thin, add 1 tablespoon flour, or more, and mix well.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the batter, toss to coat, and let marinate for at least 15 minutes. Mix to coat again. Place the florets on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and spray with oil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet. Bake until a toothpick passes through the cauliflower easily, about 15 minutes. The total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes.
- Make the garnish: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, peppers, and curry leaves, and cook until the onion is golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Garnish the baked cauliflower with the onion mixture. Serve hot.
NOTE: Curry leaves, also called kadipatta, karivepallai, or sweet neem leaves, come from a subtropical tree native to India. The green midsized leaves are joined to a main stem and have a faint aroma that can be experienced while cooking. The leaves are highly valued as a seasoning in southern and west-coast Indian and Sri Lankan cooking and are usually fried along with the chopped onion in the first stage of the preparation. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life and do not keep well in the refrigerator. You can freeze the fresh leaves very loosely packed in an airtight container for a few months. They are also available dried, though the aroma is largely inferior. You can add them to food whole or chopped. The curry leaves can be eaten along with the food or removed during eating. There is no good substitute for curry leaves. They can be purchased at an Indian market or online, but if you don’t have access to them you can omit them and use a bit of lemon zest instead.