Spring is here! Time to focus on pungent, astringent & bitter tastes. It’s the season to detoxify, cleanse and utilize the energy we accumulated from Autumn and Winter while prepping ourselves for Summer, Summer, Summer time. This means increasing the veggies and reducing the grains. It’s all about lighter foods in the Spring.
This doesn’t mean denying yourself of rice or bread, rather it’s about reducing grains, to help bring lightness and balance the heavy, wet’ish air that comes with Spring. With this in mind, I thought I would try making “rice” with cauliflower. Cauliflower, or gobi is a light, slightly drying vegetable that is considered to have an astringent taste according to Ayurveda. Making it perfect for Spring and all people who are kapha or pitta dominant.
Cauliflower is one of the vegetables that I ate way too much of as a child, so I am always looking for new ways to cook with it. I prefer it mashed, creamed and now riced! There’s something about changing the texture that transforms my frame of mind—cauliflower is new again. A new texture, brings a new outlook. Making me want more, more more. Turning cauliflower into a “rice” also makes it less heavy compared to a cream of cauliflower soup and a nice choice for those warmer spring days.
Like most veggies, it is nutrient rich in folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamins b, c and k, is alkalizing, cooling, rich in antioxidants and helps reduce inflammation. I’ve prepared it with lots of yummy digestive aides and incorporated good fats to help balance the drying quality. The combination of spices, and cooking technique takes both the season and digestion into consideration making this a tri-doshic recipe that everyone can enjoy. Happy eating!
Golden Cauliflower & Peas
Season: Spring & Summer
Tastes: Astringent, Bitter, Pungent, Sweet, Salty
Time: 20-30 minutes
What you need: a wide-heavy bottom pan, grater or food processor
- 1 medium cauliflower (about 4 cups)
- 1 1/3 cup peas
Vaghar/Hot Oil Infusion:
- 1 1/2 – 2 T unrefined coconut oil or ghee (solid)
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 cardamom pods
- 4-6 curry leaves (optional)
- 1 large garlic clove thinly sliced
- 1/2 – 1 serrano green chili thinly sliced
- 2 T slivered, blanched almonds
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 tsp ginger minced or grated
- 1/3 cup cilantro chopped (including stems)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1-2 T chopped cilantro
Step 1: Remove the green leaves and quarter the cauliflower. Using the large grate on your grater, grate cauliflower into a big bowl. Or pulse one quarter at a time in the food processor. Set aside.
Step 2: Heat your pan, I used a wide, 3.5 quart sautee pan, on medium heat. When the pan is warm add the ghee or unrefined coconut oil. When the oil has melted and is very warm (not smoking hot) add the mustard seeds (you can do a test by adding 1 -2), if they sizzle, the oil is at the right temperature. If they pop out of the pan, the oil is too hot. When they start to gently crackly, add the cumin seeds, cardamom pods, curry leaves, sliced garlic, chili and almonds. Stir until the garlic begins to caramelize. For this part of the recipe, it helps to have all of your ingredients prepped and near the stove.
Step 3: Once the garlic has a nice caramel color, add the ginger and cilantro. Give it a stir or two. Then add the peas, turmeric and salt. Stir to mix all the ingredients and cover (you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons water). Cook the peas until they are about 70% done.
Step 4: Uncover and add the “riced” cauliflower a little at a time and stir in-between each addition.
Step 5: Cover and let cook for about 7-12 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy (unless you like it that way). The cauliflower will continue to cook once the stove is turned off. To be on the safe side, opt to cook it until its 90% done and then let it rest in its own steam to cook completely. (Cauliflower can be hard to digest, ensuring it is cooked thoroughly will help with digestion).
Step 6: Before serving mix in the chopped cilantro.
with a well-stirred yogurt (I like to use one that has lots of whey) to add the missing sour taste.
a crunchy salad or slaw to complete the meal
mixed into a spinach salad for a nice light dinner or lunch
wrapped in a wrap for lunch or to take on the road (with a little slaw and yogurt-yum!)
Note: if you don’t have mustard seeds, cardamom or curry leaves, don’t worry it’s still going to taste delicious! You can substitute 1/4 chopped onion for spring onions, just add them in a bit earlier so they can caramelize a bit.