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The Flavor Of Yellow

14 Mar

Why are kids and dogs fascinated with holes? Why do we lose our fascination with digging as we age?

I love beaches, always have.

Coney Island in Winter

My favorite thing to do on a beach is beachcomb. I have a rather nice collection of shells and rocks that I’ve managed to collect since The Boy and I have been dating. I bring something home from every trip we take.

Coney Island in Winter

I can beachcomb for hours now, but could not when I was a kid, I would get bored then and begin digging holes. Like most kids I wondered what would happen if I finally managed to get down to the magma in the middle of the earth, and like most kids, I never made it that far. But now I know. If I dug a hole right out in front of my apartment here in Brooklyn I’d end up in the middle of the Indian Sea, somewhere off of Australia.

I was kind of hoping I’d actually end up on the subcontinent of India. Why? Because something, aside from Gogol, should explain my recent obsession with Indian (and Middle Eastern) food. But alas. I learned from starting a hole where my friend Ruth lives in Bombay that I’d have to live somewhere in the South Pacific, off the coast of Peru, to have this excuse hold water.

Coney Island in Winter

So let’s move on to possible explanation number two. Might it be Meat-Free March? Possibly. And what is Meat-Free March? I’m not sure to tell you the whole truth, but it’s some attempt to control the chaos eddying around me I guess. Perhaps it’s the redheaded cousin of TV-Free February, which was scotched this year by the move.

Coney Island in Winter

Either way, after being a vegetarian for 13 years, one month is a breeze. Unfortunately I’ve also remembered why I was the only fat vegetarian I knew, it’s so easy to slip into a diet that consists mainly of cheese (glorious cheese!). We had an everyone-eats-cheese-dinner over the weekend (that was gloriously aided and abetted by Patrick from Stinky Brooklyn, thank you!) and so had to do some culinary atonement wherein I discovered the flavor of yellow.

And what is the flavor of yellow?

Grated Curried Cauliflower

Curried cauliflower.

Gobbi Matar ki Sabzi to be exact.

On one of my recent book buying rampages I picked up Smita Chandra’s Cuisines Of India. This is a big, workmanlike book in which she covers both traditional and contemporary fusion recipes. In the section on ancient India, this cauliflower recipe jumped out at me immediately due to this phrase, “Grating the cauliflower not only reduces cooking time but also helps brown it thoroughly during sautéeing, enhancing the flavor of the dish.”

It sounded like a quick, 20 minute way to simulate roasted cauliflower, but with delicious spices taken along for the ride. I had to try it.

I’m glad we did. It was so delicious. I don’t keep garam masala lying around, so I had to improvise that, which I think worked out just fine.

Grated Curried Cauliflower & Gingered Lentils

I’m amazed at how much depth of flavor came out of such a quick dish. There was heat and intense, punchy spikes, but also mellow, blissed out layers of delicacy. This is a keeper.

The recipe said to serve with spinach and dal, which sounded like too much fuss, so I simply boiled some lentils with mustard seeds and ginger. These are actually better as leftovers. The flavors have had time to meld to great effect, and they’re luscious mixed into leftover basmati and warmed up. Good stuff for an after work dinner.

And so, I present to you the flavor of yellow. I’m very glad I don’t know what the flavor of blue is.

Head below the jump for the recipes for Grated Cauliflower Curry & Gingered Lentils.

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