Indian spiced millet cauliflower mash with a sweet & sour tamarind sauce

7th February 2016

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This would have to be my second favourite Indian breakfast – my first being idli.  In my earlier days when I was studying yoga in Mysore, there was an Indian lady who opened up her house for Westerners serving breakfast and dinner.  She would make the most delicious pongal drizzled with a sweet-sourish Tamarind sauce.  Only recently, after making it for so many years, I finally obtained an authentic recipe for the Tamarind Sauce on our last retreat in India.  The secret lies in obtaining fresh curry leaves and using a seedless tamarind pulp.  A wonderful soothing dish, perfect for chilly mornings.

When my husband made it with our teacher’s wife a few years back, she added a heaping spoon of rasam powder to the sauce, and it oozed and tasted of India.  I must admit I prefer mine sweeter and drizzled lavishly with ghee.

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Indian spiced millet cauliflower mash with a tamarind sauce

This millet mash is a lighter version of the traditional South Indian breakfast dish – pongal, which is usually made with white rice and a yellow split moong dal.  The traditional method uses ½ cup white rice with ½ cup yellow split moong dal and is simmered until soft. Either method can be used. I alternate between the two.  Both are deeply satisfying and soothing.  

The millet mash is lovely just on its own without the addition of the Indian spices – with a side of greens and a drizzling of ghee. 

I start to soak the tamarind first, then pressure cook or simmer the millet & cauliflower while going back to the spices & chutney…..

serves 2 – 3

for the millet mash

½ cup millet, washed and soaked overnight (if not soaking, cooking time will be longer and more water added as required)

400 grams cauliflower, cut into florets – thicker stem discarded

3 cups water

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp ghee

for the Indian spices

1 tsp ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 tsp grated ginger

1 dried chilli, broken in half (optional)

10 pieces raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup freshly grated coconut or ( cup unsweetened dried coconut)

to prepare the millet mash :

Drain and rinse the millet.  Place in a medium saucepan and add the cauliflower, water and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes or until millet is soft, fluffy and all the liquid has absorbed.

While waiting for the millet to cook, prepare the Indian spices as outlined below.

When the millet has finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.  Add the ghee, and mash with a potato masher until creamy.  I like to puree a quarter of the mixture using an immersion hand blender for a more creamy consistency.

to prepare the Indian spices :

Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan.  When hot, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, pepper, ginger, chilli if using, and cashew nuts.  Fry gently until the cashew nuts are browned slightly and there is a wonderful aroma.  Add the coconut and turmeric, mix well and set aside.

When everything is ready, stir the Indian spices into the millet mash, season with salt and spoon into bowls.  Drizzle with ghee and a generous helping of the Tamarind sauce.  Enjoy warm.  The cauliflower and millet will thicken as it cools, just add hot water and mix well.

 

TAMARIND sauce

tamarind chutney

This Tamarind sauce really deserves a post all on its own, it is so good.  The colour will also vary with the type of tamarind used.  Use a seedless tamarind pulp which comes compacted in a package. When I am pressed for time, I use ¼ cup tamarind paste which I dilute with a little water, then proceed as in the recipe.  The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, use it to drizzle over kitcheree, rice dishes, or as a dipping sauce.

ingredients :

150g seedless tamarind pulp

2 ¼ cups hot water – divided

2 Tblsp oil

¼ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 green chillies, sliced in half

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

10 fresh curry leaves

80g – 100g jaggery, or dark brown sugar

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup loosely packed freshly grated coconut (or cup unsweetened dried coconut)

½ cup water

salt to taste

preparation :

Break the tamarind pulp into pieces and place in a bowl.  Pour 1 ¼ cups of the hot water on top and set aside for 30 minutes, mashing and turning the tamarind regularly.  Pour through a strainer and allow to drain. Using the back of a spoon, scrape against the bottom of the strainer to get as much of the thick tamarind liquid as possible.  Pour the remaining cup of hot water over the pulp to flush through more of the tamarind.  Compost the remaining pulp.  Don’t worry, the sauce will be very liquid, the jaggery/sugar will thicken it while it simmers.

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On a medium heat in a small saucepan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds.  When they pop, quickly add the fenugreek, chilli, asafoetida and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds, then add the tamarind water, bring to a rapid boil, turn down the heat, and crumble in the jaggery/sugar.  Allow to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, until it becomes slightly thicker and comes away from the edges around the pan.

In a high-speed blender, add the half cup of water and grated coconut.  Blend for one minute.  Add to the tamarind sauce, using a spatula to get as much out of the blender as possible.  Let simmer for a few minutes, then add the turmeric and season with salt.  Drizzle over the millet mash, or enjoy with rice, vegetable palya, or as a dipping sauce with these samosas.

tamarind-chutney

Goodness shared by Stacey

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