Inspired Recipe: Curried Cauliflower Pita Pockets
Here’s an easy and delicious curried cauliflower pita pockets recipe inspired by Nell Freudenberger’s The Newlyweds.
Because Bangladeshi Amina is wrapped up in the safety of her American husband's world and she's still figuring out how to fit her past into her present.
This is a recipe I've grown up eating. When I considered what might exemplify Amina's story, I remembered that she cooked cauliflower many times. That seemed right, considering that she was, in fact, a newlywed woman and one not raised in the kitchen. Cauliflower is not only a staple food in South Asia, it's also very easy to cook. For the most part, it involves mixing a number of vegetables and spices and simmering covered for a while until they've reached their desired tenderness.
Traditionally, curried cauliflower is eaten with naan, a sort of South Asian flatbread, or perhaps basmati rice. In this case, however, I wanted to present the cauliflower in a more American way to represent the way Amina couched her old identity within her new one. The sandwich seemed like a perfect vessel to do that, and that's where the pita pocket came into play. A mashup this recipe may be, but it's a darn good one, especially if you're looking for a healthy vegetarian meal.
CURRIED CAULIFLOWER PITA POCKETS
- 1 head cauliflower (chopped into florets)
- 1 large onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoons ginger paste
- 3/4 teaspoons garlic paste
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 plum tomato (diced)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 serrano pepper (quartered and seeds removed)
- 3 sprigs cilantro
Rinse cauliflower florets and strain. Set aside.
Heat onions and oil in a large deep pan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until onions begin to brown.
Once there are more brown onions than white, add tomatoes, salt, red chili powder, ginger paste, garlic paste and turmeric powder to the pan. Stir well and allow the mixture to reduce.
Once the tomatoes have softened, fold in cauliflower florets. Mix well so that the spice mixture coats the vegetables. Add the water and stir again. Sprinkle serrano pepper and cilantro on top.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Cook covered, checking for softness after ten minutes.
When ready, the cauliflower should break easily with a wooden spoon but retain some crunch. Remove serrano peppers before serving.
- 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
- 1/4 cucumber (peeled and diced)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- In a bowl, whip the yogurt until it reaches liquid consistency.
- Mix in salt, ground cumin and cucumber pieces.
- Optional: Garnish with a sprig of cilantro or cumin seeds.
Now that you’re good and hungry, read our recommendation of the book that inspired this recipe: The Newlyweds.