Traditional side dishes are so 2009. This year, I’m departing to India and the Middle East. Well, sort of.
While browsing the vegetable bins at the farmer’s market this morning, the bright, vermilion hue of the cauliflower, peeping out from underneath the bushel of herbs, immediately drew me in. Yeah, I know, cauliflower again, but trust me, this time it won’t be made into soup. Instead, I will be making cauliflower with a Middle Eastern flair and taking a stab at replicating Mimi’s Hummus‘ wicked good lemon tahini cauliflower salad. Now, if everything goes according to plan, it will look like this, but slightly more orange tinged.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 1/2 lb.)
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
2 Tbs. tahini
Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1. Place oven rack in top position. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Toss cauliflower with 2 tsp. olive oil, and season with salt. Spread on large cookie sheet, and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender and slightly browned.
3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp. olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic in oil 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in tahini, lemon juice, 5 Tbs. water and salt. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Divide cauliflower among plates. Whisk sauce, then spoon over cauliflower. Sprinkle with parsley and sesame seeds, and serve.
Then I’m off to India via Geetika Khanna’s recommended Turkey sidekick, Aloo Tikki, scallop-sized spiced potato pancakes stuffed with peas which she affectionately calls “Indian Potato Croquettes”. Thanks for the suggestion, Geetika!
3 large starchy potatoes, boiled in their skins
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup green peas cooked, or frozen peas defrosted
1/2 tbs. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
Red chili powder to taste (optional)
1tsp. coarsely ground dry-roasted cumin seeds
¼ tsp. coarsely ground coriander seeds
Oil for pan-frying.
1. In a bowl, mash the peas using the back of a spoon. Add all the stuffing ingredients and mix. Set aside.
2. Peel the cooked potatoes and grate them with a box grater (on the largest side). Add salt and pepper, and mix well.
3. Divide into 10 equal portions.
4. Now wash and dry your hands and rub them with little oil.
5. Take each portion of potato mixture and make a ball.
6. Taking one ball at a time, gently flatten it into a round patty about 1/2-inch thick and place a portion of the pea stuffing in the center. Fold the edges together carefully so that mixture does not come out.
7. Now very gently flatten it into a 2-inch patty. Repeat the procedure for all pieces.
8. Heat 1 tbs. oil in a non-stick pan over low heat. Slip in the patties making sure not to crowd the pan and cook on both sides till crisp and golden brown. On a very low heat this can take up to 10 minutes per side.
9. Serve aloo tikki hot with chutney.
Note : Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Preferably, potatoes should be boiled well in advance so they can cool thoroughly.
And that’s about all the action my kitchen will be seeing this Thanksgiving because this year I won’t be wrestling any turkeys, just eating one. Alright, safe travel and good eats everyone. Catch you all after the Thanksgiving madness is over!