Friday, October 11, 2013

Family Breakfast

ফুলকপি ভাজি 

Fried Cauliflower

Fried cauliflower in the bottom right corner - part of this year's Eid breakfast

When my parents visited me in London earlier this year, they demanded and insisted on many things. One of those things was a properly cooked breakfast every morning, eschewing my suggestion of visiting a different Richmond café every day. I will admit that I made said suggestion because I didn’t want to cook everything morning - after all, the local cafés are nothing to write home about. However, my parents are stubborn and eventually my mom decided she would make simple vegetarian dishes over a couple of days, and we'd go out for the others.

I felt a bit guilty that mom was cooking while she was on holiday, and annoyed that dad was being lazy and not helping out in the kitchen. The usual row about sexism ensued and the traditional family fight followed. Queue wildly dramatic emotional blackmail and comical threats of severing ties. Once in the kitchen, mom assured me she had just wanted cook me breakfast while she was here, and reminded me she didn't usually have to do this when she was at home. And besides, the ruti was supermarket-bought anyway! Thus the morning segment of our family show ended, and I give you my mom's recipe for cauliflower below. 

This is a common Bangladeshi breakfast dish, and has honestly been pretty much the same wherever I've eaten it. It's part of a suite of vegetarian dishes all cooked similarly by frying in oil, with different vegetables thrown in based on people’s tastes and the local yield. The use of cauliflower leaves so far is unique to my mom, and the addition of herbs is no doubt the influence of many years in Europe.

  • 0.50 of a cauliflower and its leaves 
  • 1.00 of a medium onion 
  • 1.00 teaspoons of turmeric 
  • Coriander, to scatter 
  • Chilli, to taste 
  • Salt, to taste

  • Chop up the onion and chilli, and fry in oil on medium heat
  • Add the turmeric, mix thoroughly and continue frying 
  • Fry till the onion has gone soft, around 10 minuets, then add the chopped cauliflower
  • Mix up the caulfiflower with spiced onion and chilli - the smaller the cauliflower pieces, the easier it is to mix with the spices and the faster it cooks
  • Season with salt to taste, and continue frying on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes 
  • Remove the hard stem from the cauliflower leaves, and add the younger leaves to the dish
  • Continue frying for another 10 minutes and add the coriander
  • Mix the coriander into the dish, fry for a final 5 minutes before removing from heat
  • Serve with flatbreads like ruti for breakfast, or as a vegetarian dish with rice as part of a bigger meal

 Top left, onion fried with chilli and turmeric. Top right, cauliflower added and partially fried.
Bottom left, cauliflower almost done. Bottom right, the finished dish.

Additional Information:
This dish is also traditionally bulked up with diced potato, so feel free to add these in when you add the cauliflower. I avoid it because, well, more carbs. Also, the amount of turmeric needed will vary on the strength of the turmeric used - experiment with amounts and substitute the coriander to see what flavour suits. Feel free to add in other veg as well - while fried cauliflower is a classic, turmeric stir-frys extend to much beyond that. 

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