Another recipe we learned at cooking school in India. Our instructor battered his cauliflower before frying it, but we're lazy and generally not inclined to batter anything, so we tried throwing the cauliflower right into the hot oil. The result -- still fatty and delicious! Also, we can hardly be blamed for giving in to the temptation to throw a little non-traditional paneer in the oil, since it was already nice and hot. Everything is better with cheese.
1 head of cauliflower, floretted and dried
1 cup of paneer, diced into 3/4 inch cubes
1/3 cup oil (high-heat friendly, like coconut, peanut or canola)
2 large shallots, sliced into half-moons
2 sprigs curry leaves (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 inch ginger, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups pureed tomatoes (canned okay)
salt to taste
8 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
sprinkle of water
Optional: If you want to make a batter, mix the batter ingredients in a large bowl and toss in the cauliflower, stirring to coat.
Heat the oil in a wok until it's hot enough to sizzle on contact with cauliflower, but not smoking. Add the cauliflower in small batches, frying until it's tipped with brown, then remove to a paper-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the paneer, frying until it's golden brown on all six sides.
Pour off the extra oil, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan. Set the heat to medium-high and add the curry leaves, allowing them to sizzle for 30 seconds before adding the sliced shallots. Stir continuously until the shallots are soft and brown, then add the garlic and ginger. Once they are browned and the raw smell is gone, add the tumeric, chile powder, coriander and garam masala. Stir until the onions are well coated, then pour in the pureed tomatoes. Simmer until the tomatoes are reduced, then stir in the cauliflower, paneer and salt and allow to simmer a few more minutes to meld the flavors. We served ours on a bed of upma with red cabbage.