We are back after a couple weeks of delay with some exciting news. I am officially moved into an apartment in Austin to continue my culinary knowledge and journey with an exploration of flavors. Before I left my fiance, however, to come to this brave new world of flavor, I prepared a dish that combined two of our favorite cuisines together: Indian food and Italian food.
Not a combination you see every day, true, but this vegetable korma risotto led to no leftovers. The spiciness of the East Asian flavors coupled with the saltiness of Parmesan in the risotto led for a decadent dish full of flavor. Want to go vegan? Sub out the risotto with some regular rice for a more classic pairing!
Vegetable Korma Risotto
For the Korma:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 28 oz. canned tomatoes, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
3 yellow potatoes, diced
12 oz cauliflower (either frozen or 1 head, trimmed and cut)
12 oz broccoli (either frozen or 1 head, trimmed and cut)
salt to taste
2 tbsp turmeric, ground
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
In a blender, blend the tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and carrots and a pinch of salt. Cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
Add jalapenos and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 to 60 more seconds, stirring.
Add potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli. Cook approximately 8-10 minutes, stirring, until potatoes are seared.
Add puree mixture and remaining ingredients, scrapping bottom of pot as it is de-glazed. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Cook, covered, until vegetables are tender, approximately 30-45 minutes depending on range. Adjust seasonings and serve.
For the Risotto:
1 cup short grained rice, like Arborio
6 cups good quality vegetable stock
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Parmasean, grated
Salt to taste
In a sauce pot, bring the stock to a simmer and keep it at a low simmer during the cooking process.
In a large pan, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt, and cook until translucent approximately 5-6 minutes. Add the rice, and cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring, until well coated with the onions and oils and beginning to toast.
Add approximately 1 cup of the hot stock to the pan, de-glazing it, and stirring frequently.
When the liquid is mostly absorbed by the rice, add another ladle of stock, continuing to stir frequently. Keep repeating this until the rice is cooked through and is al dente with a slight bite.
Stir in the cheese until incorporated and melted. The mixture will be thick. Taste and adjust salt as desired. Serve with the Korma above.
Comfort food can encompass all measures of ideas and concepts. Of course, most of us gravitate to the usual stars of the show. Macaroni and cheese. Pot roast dinners. Steak and potatoes. These are, of course, all great items full of memories from childhood of home cooked meals, but not always attainable in our adult lives for various reasons.
I recently got some bad medical news requiring me to change my diet, and while it is certainly disappointing that steak and potato dinners will be greatly reduced in my near future, there are other ways to get those same feelings of nostalgia and comfort. Enter: pan seared cauliflower. With its steak-like shape, beautifully colored florets, and tender texture, one can still be satisfied with a great meal.
First, we trimmed the head to make a steak. One head can usually produce two steaks, but as we were in experiment stage, we only made one steak so as to use the rest of the cauliflower for other dishes.
Next, we seasoned the cauliflower before we pan-seared it.
After we pan seared it on both sides (we used a cast iron to give it more of a grilled feel and because the heat is evenly distributed), we drizzled some vinaigrette on with it. We also served it with some roasted watermelon radishes (coming soon!) and a lemon slice.
This recipe is quick, easy, and great for weeknight cooking. Plus side, it’s extremely healthy so you won’t have to feel guilty for going back for seconds!
Pan Seared Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower (white, purple, or other
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Parsley (for garnish)
Cut the cauliflower to make two “steaks” out of
the head (see picture), and trim off any greens.
Coat each side of the cauliflower using one tbsp
of the olive oil in total, and season with salt, pepper, and paprika (we went heavy
handed on paprika because we love it so much)
Heat a cast iron pan on medium high heat with
the remaining olive oil. Once the pan is hot, sear the steaks on each side for
approximately 4-5 minutes or until a knife pierces through easily with no
resistance. Work in batches if needed.
While the cauliflower rests, make the lemon
Plate the cauliflower, drizzle the vinaigrette
on top and garnish with chopped parsley and a lemon wedge if desired. Serve
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Place the lemon juice in a small bowl with a
pinch of salt and pepper.
While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil
so as to emulsify the mixture.
Once emulsified and incorporated, the dressing
is ready to use. You can add shallots, or lemon zest in the first step to vamp
up some new flavors. If the vinaigrette is too bitter for your liking, try
adding a teaspoon of honey with the lemon juice.