Admit it, we all have our unusual food predilections.
My husband doesn’t enjoy sour foods, but loves ceviche. He is not fond of raw carrots, but will happily chomp on them if they’re cut into sticks.
Me? I am typically not the biggest fan of coconut. Yet I dream of Tom Douglas’ famed coconut cream pie, and the coconut layer cakes I devoured in South Carolina. Neither am I usually a fan of raisins in baked goods. Yet I somehow adore them in savory dishes.
That’s why the recipe for “Cauliflower with Raisins” stopped me in my tracks in the best of ways.
It’s from the new “6 Spices, 60 Dishes” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. Ruta Kahate, a veteran cookbook author who own Ruta’s, an Indian cafe in Milwaukee.
Kahate recognizes that the intoxicating array of spices that makes Indian cuisine so exciting can also prove intimidating to a home-cook. With this book, she demonstrates that with only six spices in the pantry — cayenne, coriander, cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds, and asafetida — you can make 60 vibrant and distinct dishes that aren’t taxing.
You have to love a woman whose mantra is: “Be naturally suspicious of any food which is not home-cooked. Always take your own food with you wherever you go, even if you’re not going far.”
Given that, it’s not surprising that Meera Sodha has written an Indian cookbook that celebrates the best of Indian home-cooking.
She acknowledges at the start that cooking Indian food can be quite intimidating to make at home. So often it necessitates special trips to Indian markets or even ordering online to find the necessary ingredients.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting New York Chef Suvir Saran, no doubt you reveled in his bold, colorful and magnetic personality.
Not surprisingly, this dish is very much like him — it makes a big impression from the get-go.
“Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower” is from his cookbook, “Masala Farm” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. Suran, owner of Devi restaurant in New York, wrote the book with Charlie Burd, his long-time partner. It includes recipes and stories about their time shared in their upstate New York farmhouse situated on 67 acres with three ponds, goats, chickens and an abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
The recipes are farm-to-table, but done often with Indian flair.
This cauliflower dish has been a signature one since his restaurant opened. It’s sort of like Chinese sweet-and-sour, but with cauliflower, not pork, and boasts a spicy kick.