Gobi Gul-Badam (Cauliflower with aromatic nutty glaze)

"What's in a name?" Well, I am sure the saying stands true for a person but how about food? Isn't it the first thing that makes you pause when scrolling down any menu. Isn't the feeling almost like that of love at first sight. Doesn't that happen to you? I am certain it does, if you are someone like me who likes to explore the realm of food, striving to find something unique. Whether the dish lives up to its first impression depends on several factors and sometimes things might go wrong and you end up saying "What's in a name?" But what happens when you know for sure that nothing can go wrong with the recipe because it hails from the most bona fide kitchen that exists, yes, mom's kitchen. One such tried and tested gems is Gobi Gul-Badam. The name is a play on words and I cannot resist the urge of interpreting and analyzing it as my 'student of literature' self gets occasionally awakened. It is quite simple actually if you are well-versed in Hindi and a little bit of Urdu.
I will do the following talking for them who are not. Etymology is an interesting thing. 'Cauliflower' when broken down stands for cabbage with flowers ('cole' - 'cabbage'). Same goes for the Hindi counterpart where cauliflower is 'phool gobi' (phool - flower, gobi - cabbage). Again the Urdu for flower is 'gul'. The Urdu word 'gulbadan' is used for describing the beauty and grace of a woman comparing her to a flower. In the name of the recipe 'badan' has been replaced by similar sounding word 'badam' (Urdu for almonds) which is a key ingredient in the recipe. And 'gul' here represents the florets of the cauliflower. Confused? Well lets make it a little bit simpler. Gobi - Gul - Badam = Cauli - Flower - Almonds. Nonetheless, the name as a whole resonates the royal flavors of Mughlai cuisine. And most importantly it tastes amazing when the poor cauliflower gets a royal makeover with a rich, creamy and nutty glaze filled with the aroma for exotic spices. Won't you call it a successful nomenclature? I would.

Now it's time to enjoy the recipe!


Gobi Gul-Badam

INGREDIENTS:

Cauliflower (florets): 1 lb
Ground almonds: 1/2 cup (can be replaced with ground cashews or peanuts)
Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Onions (chopped): 1/4 cup
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Green chillies: 2
Cardamom: 3 to 4 pods
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Cloves: 4 to 5
Black peppercorns: 5 to 6
Oil: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 2 tsp
Salt to taste

PROCEDURE:

In a blender, put together the ground almonds, yogurt, onions and green chillies. Blend them till you get a smooth paste.


Blanch the cauliflower florets. They should be 50%  or less done, do not overcook them at this point. Set them aside after blanching.


Heat oil in a pan and add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black peppercorns.


Then add the cauliflower and saute till they start to get light brown color. You may add some salt to season them while sauteing.


Now add in the prepared paste. Also little water (about 1/2 cup), sugar and salt to taste and stir everything together.


Let it simmer for about 5 minutes. The cauliflowers should be cooked till tender and nicely coated in the creamy sauce. That is, the sauce should not be runny.


Enjoy it with chapati, paratha or steamed rice.


Photographs by Swakshar Ghosh.

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