Monday, July 2, 2012

Cauliflower and Chickpeas Stew

Blog's Category: My Staple Food,

It is my improvisation on a subject cauliflower + chickpeas. As vegetarian, I cook a lot with chickpeas (or call it garbanzo beans) and love this legume. Usually I just throw can of chickpeas in a pot and make some kind of stew adding another vegetables I have on my hands at the moment. The recipe below is my recent take on it. It reminds me Indian chole because I used mostly Indian spices there. It is easy and flavorful and complements very well my buckwheat kasha I'm serving it with.

- It can be endless variations here. Any vegetables will fit in, just adjust cooking time accordingly. To do it Mexican style, add jalapeno, lime juice and some broth and serve with sour cream and cilantro. To make it Middle Eastern style - add cumin and paprika. To make Italian - lime zest and juice, dry italian herbs, etc. Add soy sauce, lime juice, chili pepper and kaffir lime leaves and you'll get Thai dish. You've got the idea, right?
- If you do not like to have pieces of tomato skin in your stew - then blend your tomatoes instead of chopping them as I suggest below. Or use canned tomatoes/sauce instead.
- I use tamarind paste to add a little bit acidity to the dish. If you do not have it - replace with lemon juice or even splash of vinegar. Although your tomatoes may bring enough acidity so you can omit tamarind altogether.

Taste Description
This particular recipe is full-flavored and not spicy at all. Sweet-&-sour hence tomato, tamarind paste and jaggery (sugar), it has nice body to it, chickpeas are wonderfully soaked with a sauce and cauliflower tender and light textured.

How to Serve
Serve it over rice, pasta or buckwheat kasha as shown below - it will make great dinner meal for you!

Cauliflower and Chickpeas Stew

For about 4 servings: 

1 onion, chopped
1/2 cauliflower, separated into small florets
5-7 fresh plum tomatoes
4-7 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs cumin powder
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (or juice of 1 lime)
1/2 jaggery (or 1/2 tbs brown sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs light olive oil

- In a large pan with olive oil, cook onions until translucent. Then add cauliflower pieces and cook them for 3 minutes, stirring.

- Add turmeric, cumin and cook for 2 more minutes.

- Add tomatoes. Cook everything, stirring, until tomato will make some liquid. Continue to cook until tomato liquid evaporates.

- Add about 2-4 cups of water and all remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning by adding more acidity (tamarind paste or lemon juice), sugar or salt (remember you can always add more so be careful :)).

- When you are satisfied with seasonings and thickness of your stew - you are done! Enjoy!



This are kaffir lime leaves, I finally found it in a freezer section of my local Asian grocery store and was so happy - it smells like heaven.. ok-ok - like food in heaven..

It's a jaggery - raw cane sugar. I buy it in an Indian stores and use whenever recipe calls for sugar. It has very original though subbtle flavor and taste. I know that Indian kids just love to snack on it

Tamarind paste (or concentrate as shown here) adds acidity to the dish. Also it makes sauce a little darker.

Poured over the buckwheat kasha.. Delisiouso :)

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