Sunday, October 7, 2007

Potato and Cauliflower Dum

This is our take on the cauliflower dum recipe in Mangoes and Curry Leaves, one of our favorite cookbooks. Dum is an Indian cooking technique where a pot is sealed with either dough (if you have time) or aluminum foil under the lid, which traps heat and deliciously steams whatever's inside. If you make a dough seal, you can dip pieces of baked dough into the dum! Conveniently for those of you who live in under-heated Bay Area apartments, this process will also essentially steam your house, so keep this in mind for chilly rainy-season weekends when you want to spend time at home without your teeth chattering.

Dum Da Dum Dum

3 tablespoons butter (or Earth Balance)
1/8 cup canola oil
1 cauliflower, broken into small florets
3 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 2-inch hunk of ginger, peeled and pulverized
1 onion, grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 curry leaves
3 cups diced tomatoes (canned OK too)
a pinch of garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 green chiles, cut in half lengthwise
1 and 1/2 cups water

Optional dough: 1 and 1/2 cups flour (we used brown rice flour, but you can do this with whole wheat or whatever you have around)
1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Oil for kneading

Dum Da Dum Dum Dum

Heat the butter and oil together in a large wok over medium heat. Add in cauliflower and potatoes and cook, turning, until they are starting to brown. Remove with tongs to a large casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid.

Without cleaning the wok, return to medium heat and add the onions, ginger and garlic. Saute 5-7 minutes, until onion is translucent. Shake in the cumin, stir for 30 seconds, and add in the curry leaves, tomatoes, garam masala, turmeric, salt and chiles. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add in the water, raise the heat, boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 and make the optional dough seal. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with just enough lukewarm water to make a moist dough--half a cup should do it. Generously oil your hands and knead briefly, then divide into two halves. On a floured surface, roll the halves into ropes. Together, they should be long enough to wrap around the rim of your casserole dish.

When tomato mixture has simmered for about 10 minutes (it should be fragrant and thickened), stir into the casserole dish with the cauliflower. Cover tightly with aluminum foil (if you didn't make dough) before putting the cover on. If you did make dough, gently press along the sides of the casserole dish and then cover with the lid.

Bake for about 20 minutes. This will stay hot for a very long time if you don't break the (dough or aluminum foil) seal!

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