2 T canola or other vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1 - 2 T minced garlic
2 T finely chopped fresh, peeled ginger (or more to taste)
1 lb cauliflower florets (about 4 cups)
1 fresh, spicy chili, roughly chopped (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
In a large saute pan with a lid (or a wok), heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and quickly cover the pan. Let the seeds cook until you hear the popping noises slow down and you smell a popcorn-like scent. (This takes just 10 or 20 seconds.)
Add the garlic, ginger, cauliflower, and fresh chili(s). Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until the cauliflower is lightly browned.
Add the salt, a few grinds of black pepper, the garam masala, and the cayenne. Toss to mix in the spices evenly.
Add 1/4 cup water, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 2 minutes.
There are lots of alternatives to the fresh chilis and cayenne, if you don't have them or don't like spicy food. You can use neither, use one but not the other, or replace both with chili flakes.
This recipe is a slight adaptation from one in Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996).
Page last updated: 12/10/08