Blame It On The Cauliflower

Without knowing how, a number of Indian dishes have made their way into my kitchen. I love the medley of spices Indian food contains. I cannot say I love the Indian food that is sold in restaurants and I don’t remember loving the food when I was in India, but I love my interpretation of Indian dishes.

One of those dishes has been Split Pea Dal with Cauliflower. Since beginning to make it several years ago, I have spruced it up a bit and added chicken in order to suit my taste. The funny thing about this dish is that is depends on the cauliflower. I say that not based on taste, but based on the store! When I see the beautiful Don Miguel cauliflower heads, without thinking one ends up in my basket and I know that my cooking plans for the next week will definitely include this dish.

The next time you see cauliflower at the market, what will your first thought be?

Split Pea Dal, Revised

3 1/2 cups of water, divided
1 cup of dry split peas
1 bay leaf
2 cups of chopped cauliflower
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of brown mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of palillo (or turmeric)
1/2 tablespoon of chili powder
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
cooking spray
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast

Combine 2 1/2 cups of water, split peas and bay leaf in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 50 minutes or until tender. Add 1 cup of hot water, cauliflower and salt. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

In a small bowl, create the spice mixture by combining cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cumin powder, ground coriander, ginger, palillo, chili powder and ground cloves. Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Add onion and garlic, saute for 3 minutes. Add chicken and continue cooking until chicken begins to brown. Add the spice mixture and cook over low for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion mixture to pea mixture, stir to combine. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes or until thick. Serve with rice and a salad. Serves 6. Adapted from Cooking Light.
Guiso Indio de Arveja Partida

3 1/2 tazas de agua, dividida
1 taza de arvejas partidas
1 hoja de laurel
2 tazas de coliflor picado
1 1/2 cucharitas de sal
1/2 cucharadas de semillas de comino
1 cucharadas de semillas de mostaza
1 cucharada de comino
1 cucharita de kion en polvo (o sustituye kion rayado)
1 cucharita de palillo
1/2 cucharada de aji colorado
1/8 cucharita de clavo de olor molido
spray de aceite
1 cebolla mediana, picada
2 dientes de ajo, bien picado
500g de pechuga de pollo picado

Combine 2 1/2 tazas de agua, arvejas y hoja de laurel en una olla grande; haz hervir. Baja el fuego y cocine con fuego lento, cubierto parcialmente por 50 minutos. Agregas el colifor, una taza de agua caliente y sal. Haz hervir de nuevo, baje el fuego y cocine 20 minutos mas, moviendolo un poco. Apague el fuego y bote la hoja de laurel.

En un tazon chico, haz la mezcla de especias. Combine las semillas de comino, semillas de mostaza, comino, kion, palillo, aji colorado y clavo de olor. Prepare un sarten con spray de aceite y calientelo. Agregue la cebolla y ajo y cocine por 3 minutos. Agregue el pollo y cocine hasta que empieza dorar. Agregue la mezcla de especias y cocine con fuego muy lento por 2 minutos mas, moviendo frequentamente. Agregue la mezcla de cebolla a las arvejas, moviendo para combinar. Cocine con fuego lento, destapado, para 15 minutos o hasta que se espesa. Sirvelo con arroz y ensalada. 6 porciones.

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