Sun-Dried Cauliflower Pilaf

Sun dried cauliflower: An extremely aromatic ingredient! 
Preparation of Sun-dried Cauliflower:
 
  1. Take the florets of fresh cauliflower, string them with a thread and hang them up to dry. Within a few days, the cauliflowers shrink – like flowers, and look a few shades darker.
  2. This cauliflower string is left in the sun for at least 7 days, until all the moisture is lost and is  transformed into a fistful of stinky bits. This we bag, safely away from all moisture. 
  3.  
  4. When ready to eat, take a handful, remove the thread gently, rinse and boil these in lightly salted water for 12-15 minutes. They start resembling their original raw self but with an ultra-strong cauliflower smell. If you bite into one, they are crunchier and chewier than the raw cauliflower. This combination of aroma and texture is what this is all about. With this ingredient we can make the pilaf.
 
Sun dried cauliflower pilaf
Ingredients:
 
  • 1/2 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp of finely julienned ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of reconstituted sun-dried cauliflower
  • 2 tsp of chopped coriander leaves for garnish
  • 1 tsp of chopped mint leaves for garnish

Method:
 
  1. To hot oil, add the shallots and cook until the shallots are translucent. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, and peppercorns, and stir for a minute. 
  2.  Add the rice and stir gently until the rice is coated with oil and turns opaque. Now add the rest of the ingredients except the garnish and let cook uncovered on medium until the water boils off (approx 8 minutes). At this point, reduce the heat to lowest setting, cover and cook for 10 more minutes. Do not be tempted to uncover and peek lest you remove the steam that has built up. 
  3. Remove from the heat and let rest covered for 5-10 minutes longer. Fluff with fork, add the garnish and serve with raita, relish and papaddum.

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