Friday, June 25, 2010

Balti Cauliflower Tikka

Balti is funny. Every time I have to write down the name of the University I graduated from, I crack a smile. The town is called Balti (Bălţi), but if you are like me and don't have those funky Romanian characters on your keyboard (of course you don't), you end up with a very nice name for a type of Indian dish.

There is some confusion about the origins of Balti (the dish:))), but absolutely no doubt as to its popularity. This style of cooking may have originated in Kashmir, but it was perfected, developed and adapted for Western tastes in the British city of Birmingham.
My husband and I lived in UK for one year and I have to admit that the popularity of Balti dishes is way higher than in the US.

This one is a traditional tikka recipe, in which the "whatever" is marinated in yogurt and spices. I did not quite have a choice today since I had this big head of cauliflower staring at me , as if screaming" cook me, cook me- or I rot"!

So juggling the baby between my soccer watching hubby and the tons of toys spread out in my family room, I had to gather a few things and get rolling.

This is how you do it:

  • 1 medium size cauliflower
  • 1.5 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
Now get to work.

Divide the cauliflower into small florets.

Coarsely grind the cumin, coriander, garlic, and ginger

Put the cauliflower, yogurt, ground condiments, chili powder, salt, garam masala, paprika and the lemon juice into a large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. Let it rest for about 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep pan, Lower the heat slightly and stir in the tomato puree. Add the cauliflower and the marinade and cook it until the cauliflower is tender.

Add in the red bell pepper strips and cook it for another minute or so.

Serve the tikka hot with basmati rice or naan bread.
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