NIgella seeds….or kalonji…I’ve never used them in the kitchen before. When CWS – Nigella seeds was announced, I started looking out for it on my shopping trip at the Indian store…got a small pack of it. The only recipe I could find in my cookbooks for the use of kalonji was ‘Aachari Baingan’ – where eggplant is cooked pickle style. I didn’t have any eggplant on hand. But I did have cauliflower and I substituted it for the eggplant.
Traditionally, the eggplant is deep fried in oil and then combined with the masala. But I baked the cauliflower on a high temp oven and crisped it up before adding it to the masala. Ended up being the most aromatic dish ever cooked in my kitchen.
2 cups cauliflower broken into florets
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tomatoes, diced fine
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil. Toss the cauliflower florets in a tbsp of oil with a pinch of salt and roast until the edges of the cauliflower turn golden brown and crisp about 20 minutes. Remove, let cool.
In a wide pan over medium heat, heat the remaining tbsp of oil, add the fennel, cumin and kalonji seeds. Let the seeds splutter and fry in the oil. This imparts a great fragrance and spreads an aroma through your entire kitchen.(From this beautiful smell, I realized that I had tasted kalonji before…somewhere..but couldn’t quite recall the exact dish.) Add the diced tomatoes and the turmeric powder and some salt. Saute until the tomatoes become, soft, pulpy and all the moisture evaporates. Add the ginger garlic paste, chilli powder and coriander powder. Saute until the raw smell of the masalas disappear. Add the roasted cauliflower and combine gently to coat with the masala. Serve hot with rotis or rice.
Verdict: The kalonji adds a nutty taste and aroma and the tomatoes add a tangy bite. Roasting the cauliflower made way for the vegetable being perfectly cooked without being mushy. Surely will be making this again.Pin It