DIET TALK: Have you tried ‘The Cauliflower Diet’ yet?
Move over broccoli—cauliflower is making a cool comeback.
Being smitten by kale, wasabi, watercress, broccoli was easy. But one member from the same cruciferous vegetable family has been scorned forever. We are talking about the humble cauliflower, which never enjoyed a moment under the culinary spotlight. But of late, with international chefs turning it into everything from delectable flans, puffy soufflés to mousse and cold soups, cauliflower is slowly climbing the flavour meter.
And if The Cauliflower Diet, a new book by Radha Thomas, is to be believed, it’s getting healthier too.
The book shows how cauliflower can be used as a guilt-free substitute for starch in some of the most indulgent meals. Like a cauliflower “pizza”; “The pizza has no bread, but a base made out of cauliflower, it’s my pièce de résistance, even if I have to say so myself,” says Thomas. You can find the recipe for the pizza in her book; for now, we pick four dishes that will help you begin your cauliflower affair.
Romano Cheese Cookies
200gm cauliflower florets, steamed; 50gm Romano cheese, grated; 100gm raw peanuts; ½ tsp baking soda; butter to grease; salt to taste
-Pulverise peanuts in a food processor until crumbled. Toss in all the other ingredients and mix well.
– Roll out the dough as thinly as you can and using a cookie cutter, cut it to shape.
– In a pre-heated oven, bake it for 15 minutes at 150 degree Celsius.
– Cool and serve.
500gms cauliflower rice; 2 tsp cooking oil; ½ tsp mustard seeds; 1 tbsp channa dal; ½ tbsp urad dal; 1-2 dry red chillies, split in half; pinch of asafoetida; 10 curry leaves; 500gm yoghurt; 2 tbsp heavy cream; pinch of salt; a few pomegranate seeds
– Heat oil in a deep-bottomed wok. Toss in mustard seeds and allow it to crackle.
– Lower the heat and add channa dal to it.
-Toss urad dal, curry leaves and asafoetida, frying it gently, until golden brown.
-In a bowl, mix with grated cauliflower and separately, mix yoghurt and heavy cream.
-Toss gently as you would mix a salad.
– Garnish with pomegranate and serve.
Basic Cauliflower Rice
500 gm cauliflower (broken into florets)
– Boil water in a large saucepan; once it begins to bubble, drop the florets in. Make sure they’re submerged. Leave them in for exactly five minutes. The florets should be ‘al dente’.
– Remove from fire and drain. Allow it to cool and dry completely.
– Place them in a food processor and give them a whirl or two, or grate by hand.
– Use this cauliflower rice as a couscous/rice/grain replacement for any meal, or try the fried rice recipe up next.
Shrimp Fried Rice
500gm cauliflower rice; 500gm small shrimps; ½ cup cooking oil; 100gm scallions, chopped; 50gm broccoli florets, steamed; 20gm red bell pepper, de-seeded and cubed; 20gm yellow bell pepper, de-seeded and cubed; 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped; 1 tsp ginger, grated; ¼ cup soy; 1½ rice tbsp vinegar; 1 tsp hot sauce; 1 egg, beaten
– Heat half the oil in a wok. Add scallions, ginger and garlic, and fry.
– Throw in broccoli, peppers and sauté. Add shrimp and cook well. Add a little more oil if needed. Remove the mix from fire and set aside.
– In the same wok, add more oil and throw in the cauliflower rice, coating it well.
-Make a well in the ‘rice’ mixture and pour the egg in slowly, stirring as you do. Make sure the egg is fully scrambled.
– Meanwhile, mix soy, vinegar and hot sauce. Spoon about half the hot sauce mixture into the rice, stirring as you do. When you’ve coated the rice with the sauce, add the shrimp and veggie mixture, adding more sauce.
-Stir well and serve.