It’s a vegetable that’s versatile, nutritious, and easy to cook. In India, it’s synonymous with manchurian. But, if you thought manchurian is the only dish you can make with it, then you are sorely mistaken. For, it can be added to anything, almost anything – from parathas and curries to soups and pizzas. Yes, it’s cauliflower that we are talking about.Bland by nature, this vegetable lends itself beautifully to a whole lot of preparations. However, buying a cauliflower and cooking it can be quite tricky. Here are a few tips:
* While choosing a cauliflower, look for one whose florets are fresh and not discoloured; the leaves around it should be green with no signs of wilting, and the stem should be hard.
* Wash it only after chopping the florets. For a perfect wash, soak it in lukewarm and salted water, and rinse it with fresh water. Worms, if there are any, will come out of the vegetable when soaked in lukewarm salt water.
* It should be cooked just right. If overcooked, it can get mushy, lose its colour and nutrients, and hence unpalatable, visually unappealing, and not-so-healthy.
* Cauliflower gives out an unpleasant odour while cooking. Adding a few chunks of bread or boiled potato to the water in which it is cooked minimises the odour.
* To retain the colour of the vegetable, adding a few spoons of milk or vinegar or lemon juice really helps.
* If cooking it in a microwave, sprinkle just a few drops of water on the florets, cover and microwave it for 4-5 minutes only. The standing time could be around 2-3 minutes.
* If the recipe calls for deep-frying, steam the florets until they begin to turn tender, rinse them in cold water, pat them dry, coat them with the required batter, and deep-fry.
* If making gobi parathas, cut the florets into tiny bits, fry them with very little water and the required masala till the mixture is dry, and stuff the required quantity in the paratha dough.
* Grating cauliflower and sauteing in the pan with a wee bit of oil till the cauliflower gets tender results in cauliflower rice, a great substitute for rice, and a boon for weight-watchers.