Last fall I introduced you to my friend Amit who grew up in Delhi, India. (See a wonderful rice and beans dish of his mother’s, Rajmah, that I posted at the time.) Amit, a man who loves all things associated with the kitchen, has inspired me in my own. Now borrowed from him are chai, rice and bean dishes, chutney, a couple salads and several curries that he brought to the US when he immigrated here. This is Amit’s father’s birthday month and in honor of that, I was asked if I could share a favorite dish of his Dad’s too. I told my good friend I’d be happy to.
Have you ever heard the expression that a person grows into the name he or she was given? It appears to be the case with Amit’s father, a gregarious man with a smile that lights up his entire face, and possibly the entire room. His name: Prakash Chandra Jain. Prakash means light, and Chandra - moon! Can you imagine being given such a name?! And then, having the privilege of growing into it?
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Sri Prakash Chandra, since retired, had his career as an experimental physicist. He’s always been an exacting man – both in his lab and in the kitchen where he loved to cook for his family. His interest in the culinary world was already well-evidenced by the time he was a young man in college where he took the lead in his dorm’s dining hall — purchasing the food, planning the recipes for the cooking staff and in general, managing the kitchen. Experimentation wasn’t restricted to his physics lab either – he’s been known to work and work on a recipe until he’s perfected it. And one of his favorite dishes is one that Amit and his family grew up eating on a typical (ever-delicious) Delhi morning.
Paranthas stuffed with cauliflower & spices
served with cumin raita and an out-of-this-world green chutney
Sounds complicated, no? Well, it’s not a bowl of instant oatmeal or a cereal bar grabbed on the way out the door (but who writes of that?) It’s sit-down food, meant for moments to savor.
- 1 medium cauliflower, shredded (using a coarse grater)
- Grated ginger root (using fine grater) – a piece about 1 x 1-inch
- Cilantro: 2 to 3 Tablespoons, chopped (Amit’s family uses leaves only)
- 2 teaspoon Garam masala
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional, but we like) – minced
(NOTE: Amit has also made this stuffing with purple potatoes, cooked & chopped finely, then prepared as in the directions for this stuffing. How very pretty that would be.)
Heat oil in a pan. Add ginger and sauté until just slightly brown. Add the cauliflower and spices. Cook uncovered over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes (or until tender).
Should you have any left over, this stuffing is delicious to eat as a side.
fresh ginger – 1 inch x ½ inch piece
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
15 – 20 leaves of fresh mint
2 whole bunches of fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1½ salt (Amit likes 2)
juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeño – ribs and seeds removed
¼ to ½ water (more like 3/8)
1 to 2 Tablespoons plain yogurt (optional – I wanted to preserve the brilliant green color so didn’t add)
3 Tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut