Cauliflower is a vegetable that belongs to the Brassica oleracea species that also includes cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and collard greens. The vegetable originated in the Northeast Mediterranean and is presently cultivated in most parts of the world. This vegetable has a white head and stalk and is surrounded by thick, green leaves. The stalk and leaves are discarded and only the head (white curd) is eaten.
Cauliflower can be had in the raw, cooked or pickled form and the raw form holds the highest nutritional value. Cauliflower and broccoli are from the same species having very similar structures, though cauliflower replaces the green flower buds with white inflorescence meristem.
Cauliflower is a cool season crop and is more exacting in its climatic requirements than most other crops in this family. It grows best in a comparatively cool temperature with a moist atmosphere. They are classified into four major groups like the Italian, Northwest European biennial, Northern European annuals and the Asian. There are different colors of cauliflowers available in the market like the orange cauliflower that contains 25 times the level of Vitamin A of white varieties.
Green cauliflower is sometimes called brocco flower or broccoli. Purple color exists and the purple color is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. Cauliflower is also a good source of carotenoids.
Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw. There are a variety of dishes that can be made of the cauliflower. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are removed, leaving only the florets. The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded. The florets should be broken into similar-sized pieces so they are cooked evenly. After eight minutes of steaming, or five minutes of boiling, the florets should be soft, but not mushy (depending on size). As with all vegetables, be sure not to overcook cauliflower.
Sautéing cauliflower is rather better than the more traditional methods of boiling or steaming, which makes them waterlogged, mushy and loses much of its flavor. Cut cauliflower florets into quarters and let sit for 5 minutes before cooking.
For great tasting cauliflower add 1 tsp of turmeric when adding the cauliflower to the skillet. Raw cauliflower is firm yet a bit spongy in texture. It has a slightly sulfurous and faintly bitter flavor. The milk, sweet, almost nutty flavor of cauliflower is at its best from December through March when it is in season and most plentiful in your local markets. Cauliflower traces its ancestry to the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in ancient Asia Minor, which resembled kale or collards more than the vegetable that we now know it to be.
Cauliflower contains phytonutrients that release odorous sulfur compounds when heated. These odors become stronger with increased cooking time. If you want to minimize odor, retain the vegetable's crisp texture, and reduce nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower for only a short time. Some phytonutrients may react with iron in cookware and cause the cauliflower to take on a brownish hue. To prevent this, add a bit of lemon juice to the water in which you blanch the cauliflower.
Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fiber. It is a very good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, and manganese. Additionally, it is a good source of potassium, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and magnesium. Cauliflower, a highly nutritious vegetable, contains many nutrients that can help prevent a range of diseases from cancer to cataracts. Three florets of cauliflower a day will provide you with 67% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Cauliflower has been associated with the maintenance of a healthy cholesterol level. Cauliflower acts as a blood and liver detoxifier is a seasonal vegetable and fresh florets when cooked taste just delicious. Cauliflower blends well with green peas and potatoes. Below listed are some of my favourite recipes made with cauliflower:
Badhal Gobi Badhal Gobi is an exotic dish where the cauliflower, peas are cooked in tomato spicy sauce and topped with fresh chhena which makes the dish delicious and lip smacking. This dish is Badhal Gobi because the cooked cauliflowers and green peas are nicely clouded over with fresh white colored chhena in red tomato saucy gravy.
Gobi 65 – Cauliflower 65 Restaurant Style Gobi 65/ Cauliflower 65 cooked the restaurant style is truly tempting and enticing. Blanched cauliflower florests nicely coated with a spiced batter and deep fried twice to give that zest and crunchiness. Gobi 65 is a popular appetizer or starter.
Cauliflower Milagu Peratu Cauliflower tossed with pepper and curry leaves. Cauliflower Milagu Peratu is a dry fry side dish where cauliflower is blended with black pepper which gives a nice spicy flavor.
Gobi Butter Masala Gobi Makhani or Gobi Butter Masala is another of the popular "Makhani or Butter Masala" recipes. Any "Makhani" dish speaks eloquently of the magnificence of the Indian cuisine. They all have a stately aura around them. In today's recipe, the cauliflower slices are marinated with youghurt and pan fried in a fragrant and silky makhani sauce.
Aloo Gobi Aloo Gobi is a dry vegetarian Indian side dish made with Aloo (potatoes) and gobi (cauliflower) mixed with spices and stir fried.A tasty aloo gobi mutter made of potatoes, cauliflower and green peas mixed with the spices. Serve with puris or rotis.
Cauliflower 65 – Gobi 65 Wet Gobi 65/Cauliflower 65 is a perfect evening snack for kids, my kids just finish the whole batch after they come back. This is a recipe can be done fried and served and as it is and also braised with curd, green chilli and garlic with a hint of garam masala nd pepper powder. It is an all-time favourite all over India.
Gobi Manchurian Gobi Manchurian is a very popular Indo-Chinese dish. Indian Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to suite Indian tastes. This snack is one of the most favourite dishes to many kids and elders too. A bite of spicy coated fried chicken just melts into your mouth bursting out with striking flavours.
Carrot and Cauliflower Pickle Carrot & cauliflower pickle is a mixed vegetable pickle prepared by adding lemon juice and other spices. It is made of raw vegetable and seasoned with spices like the chilli powder, mustard powder, garlic etc. Has a nice tangy hot sweet crunchy pickle. Pickle made with carrot and cauliflower.
Crispy Honey Lemon Cauliflower This is an excellent Chinese recipe made with battered fried cauliflower florets tossed in a sweet, spicy and tangy honey and lemon based sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds which is a great accompaniment that goes incredibly well with noodles or fried rice.
Cauliflower Paratha Gobi or cauliflower grows abundantly in the punjab. This vegetable is enjoyed by people of all ages and is a specialty at most celebration and religious gatherings. gobi has been combined with a masala and used as a stuffing for a parathas. Serve these hot golden brown parathas glistening with ghee, with some plain curd or pickle.
Aloo Gobi Korma Aloo Gobi is a delicious main dish made with potatoes, cauliflower, and a great blend of spices. Aloo Gobi can be served with various breads, such as rotis, parathas, and puris.
Aromatic Vegetable Rice – Alu Gobi Ki Tahari A very popular combination of aloo and gobi cooked along with rice . This is a popular dish predominantly in the areas of Uttar Pradesh.
Cauliflower Au Gratin Cauliflower au Gratin is a traditional classic dish of cauliflower cooked in cream that includes the bechamel sauce, salt, pepper and cheese and topped with a mixture of bread crumbs, olive oil, basil (dried or fresh) and parmesan cheese and oven baked until golden in color.
Gobi Salan This is another hearty vegetarian recipe that combines flavour of cauliflower with salan gravy. Gobi ka salan is an easy recipe often served with roti.
Aloo gobhi mutter This is a simple, wholesome dish that is perfect when served with hot Chapatis (Indian flat bread) or Parathas (pan fried Indian flat bread). It makes for a quick and easy meal on those days when you can't be bothered spending hours in the kitchen.
Cauliflower or Gobi can be cooked with rice or as starter or side dish. This can be eaten with rice, roti, chapatti, phulkas or naan.
Do try these recipes and delight your palate with different variations of cauliflower recipes.
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Enjoy Cooking! Keep Smiling…