Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cauliflower Sous-Vide, Brown Basmati Rice Pulao, Grilled Okra, Toor Dal, Puri

Dinner 2/11

Cauliflower Sous-Vide

Brown Basmati Rice Pulao

Grilled Okra

Toor Dal


You can blame television for tonight's dinner, specifically Katie Brown's PBS show. She recently had a show in which she made Cauliflower "Steaks" -- thick cut slabs that were cooked in a large saute pan. It looked really good, admittedly.

But, as you guys know by now, we're not ones to just replicate a recipe unless we can make it much more difficult. You see where this is going...

We decided to do an Indian version and broke out the sous-vide gear... ;)

The first step was to cut the cauliflower into 1" thick slices and brush on a marinade of garam masala, crushed chiles, salt, lemon juice and cilantro.

Next, the marinated cauliflower was placed in a sous-vide bag along with a stem of fresh curry leaves, vacuum-sealed and put in the fridge until it was time to cook (about 4 hours).

For sous-vide cooking we use our canning pot -- in lieu of an immersion circulator -- the advantages are that it's huge, so you can do multiple items, plus the larger volume allows the water to stay at a stable temp over the course of cooking.

The bags were dropped into the pot of water at 85C (185F) -- the canning tongs were placed on top of the the bags to keep them submerged -- and they were cooked for about an hour and 15 minutes.

The cauliflower was removed from the pot and immediately dropped into an ice bath for five minutes to stop the cooking.

Here they are out of the bag after the ice bath, on the rack about to be finished under the broiler for about 2 minutes a side, just to get a little color. Alternately, you could sear them in a very hot cast-iron pan.

So, you're asking, after all that -- how did it come out? The cauliflower was perfectly cooked, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture (even the stem) that exploded with intense Indian flavors -- it was unlike any Gobi dish we've ever had before.

And that my friends, is worth the journey.

The Toor Dal and Puri combo is always a winner, finished with fried curry leaves and onion seeds.

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