Cauliflower Koottu

Have you ever experienced a zen kind of meditation while cleaning out you refrigerator ? Well, I have ! Slowly as I Feng shui’d my refrigerator, y’day a kind of peace settled within me.This week, I have time for myself, no early morning rush to work, dropping kid at day care at dawn, driving with Mom guilt wondering if I did my best as a parent (feeling guilty for waking up the kid so early in the morning,packing lunch…..times I wished my grand mom was still alive to give the kind of affection she gave us kids when we went to school each morning feeding us to the brim & still having a smiley face when we came back home in the evening) driving thru’ crazy traffic in ‘frenzied mom mode”, until some lunatic honks frantically& raises his finger toasting the early morning rush, then immediately switching on to “survival mode”, get to work, then “rat race” mode & finally when you get back home, all you can identify with is the “zombie mode” before you switch on to “Mrs.Doubtfire mode”……& the cycle starts all over again.There are no short cuts in life & once you figure that out, you learn to cherish each moment with all it’s power packed madness grin emoticon Having found a packet of cauliflower florets which I had frozen for rainy days, during my fridge cleaning spree, I set about making this delicious Cauliflower “Koottu” in my PJ’s, soul & all… after all this morning was all mine, I could wave my wand in the kitchen & bring back the aroma of my growing up years, instead of nibbling thru’ protein bars while driving like crazy thru’ early morning traffic, wondering how the lady in the next car has time for another coat of lipstick at the traffic light………you got to “make” moments in time,before life passes you by!
“Koottu” is a typical Tamilian( a South Indian state, where I grew up) dish and is a vital part of the “Virundhu Sapadu”/Tamil feast.A Tamil feast has many delicious dishes arranged on a banana leaf served with affection ( me thinks a good portion of the love with which it is served is what makes these dishes delicious) every time you stir the “Koottu” while cooking, it’s the memories you are stirring…simple, down to earth affection with no frills attached grin emoticon.It is a kind of stew cooked with vegetables & lentils, not a dry preparation but a semi solid one & is not watery or runny.This paired with Idli’s ( Steamed rice Dumplings) would be the exclamation point of a lovely unhurried breakfast.Yes, you would have a spring in your step as you step out for the day, & it would take an army to shatter your peace.Talk about foods influencing your moods…Zen food indeed, & the spices ?? Yes, they are there for a reason…you need the FIRE, in your step

Cauliflower Koottu
Cauliflower Koottu

Cauliflower Florets- a bowl full
Potato- 1 ( cubed)
Carrots- 3-4 (cut into match stick size)
Edamame beans- a handful ( I substituted them for green peas, coz’I did not have any handy)
Onion- 1 big ( sliced thin)
Tomato- 1 (optional)
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Thuvar Dal (lentils)- 1/2 cup cooked
Tamarind extract/Tamico paste 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste

For the Kootu Masala powder ( ground fresh)
Dry red chillies- 3-4
Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Black Pepper corn- 10-12
Chana Dal ( Split Chick peas) – 1 tbsp
Coconut- 1/2 cup (I used desiccated , one can use fresh if available)

For seasoning:
Coconut Oil- 1 tbsp ( Coconut oil adds to the flavor, compared to other oil)
Mustard seeds- 1tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- a few or can use Curry leaf powdered ( Please note,Curry powder & Curry LEAF powder is different!)

1.Soak the cauliflower florets in a bowl of warm salted water, while you go about getting the other ingredients ready.
2.Pressure cook Thuvar dhal , with potatoes & carrots ( to soften them a bit) for 5-6 minutes.
3.In a wok, add a tbsp of oil, when it’s warm add the mustard & cumin seeds, along with curry leaves & wait for them to splutter.To this add the onions, followed by the tomatoes , and sauté. Then add the drained cauliflower florets,edamame beans, tamarind extract,turmeric powder & salt & cover with lid & allow it to cook in its own steam.
3.Meanwhile in a another vessel toast all the ingredients for the “Koottu masala”, dry & then blend them to a fine paste with little water.
4.Add the Kootu masala paste to the Cauliflower mix , along with the cooked Dal, carrots & potatoes.Add salt to taste after stirring the mix together.Allow it to cook on simmer for 10- 12 minutes, covering with a lid.
5.Serve hot with Idli’s or rice,.Makes a yummy healthy side dish & you will never leave home unhappy grin emoticon grin emoticon Enjoy!

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