Peas- cauliflower with coconut milk…

by Sunita on May 16, 2007

Coconut enjoys a very special place in the Assamese household, … no auspicious occasion, from weddings to offerings before the almighty, to goodies prepared during Bihu (the most important cultural festival of Assam), is complete without it’s presence. The fresh coconut is usually used on all these occasions.

However,I am not familiar with coconut milk as an ingredient in cooking…have heard so much about it, and have also tried dishes including the ingredient, but personally, I’ve never used it…this time, I decided to give it a try. Getting coconut milk from a coconut requires some processing, but with the wonders of modern food processing around, I was able to pick a can off the shelves of the local supermarket the other day, and decided to give it a go… It, of course, had to wait for a while to be opened…old habits die hard… also happened to pick up some interesting information on this ingredient-

Coconut milk offers some particular health benefits. It is anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. The main saturated fat that it contains, lauric acid, is also found in mother’s milk and has been shown to promote brain development and bone health. Some hope that coconut milk, with its powerful anti-viral properties, can one day be used in the fight against AIDS.(wisegeek)

Wow…that’s quite a lot going for the good old coconut

A couple of days ago, I was readying peas and cauliflower to make my usual dish. At the nth hour, I decided to give the coconut milk a go and added it to the afore mentioned dish. It came out quite well, though I think I might reduce the amount a little bit in the future…the taste of the coconut milk was a bit overpowering… However, we had it as a side dish along with plain rice, dal and a fresh salad, and savoured with all these accompaniments, the dish did seem to blend in quite well. So here goes…
What’s needed-

1 small cauliflower, cut into medium sized florets
1 C green peas
1 potato, chopped
100 ml coconut milk
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
3 tblsp of cooking oil
a pinch of sugar
salt to taste

For the tempering-

1 whole red chilli
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 pods of cardamom
2 cloves
1 inch stick of cinnamon

How to-

Heat oil in a pan. Add all the ingredients for tempering.

When the seeds begin to splutter and the aroma from the oil begins to emanate, add the potatoes and stir fry for a minute. Add the cauliflower, season with salt and the sugar, and cook covered over low heat, stirring every now and then.

When the vegetables are slightly more than half cooked, add the turmeric and cumin powders, stir for a minute and add the coconut milk. Cover and simmer till the vegetables are completely done.

Add the garam masala powder , stir for a minute and remove from heat.

Serve hot as an accompaniment to rice or rotis!!!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Asha May 17, 2007 at 1:14 pm

If you say anything in coconut milk,bring it on!!I love the color,very nice job Sunita:))


2 sunita May 17, 2007 at 4:06 pm

Asha, thanks…you know what, I really look forward to your comments…


3 Cynthia May 17, 2007 at 4:37 pm

We cook with coconut milk here in the Caribbean, especially curries and some local rice dishes.

It tends to be high in cholestorl so I moderate my usage but there is no substitute for the rich, creamy, deep flavour that it brings and adds to a dish. I like how you have used it here. It Certainly elevates the ingredients.


4 sunita May 17, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Cynthia,in Assam, the state in India that I come from, we do not use coconut milk at all…I was a bit hesitant at using it at first…might use it more often now…


5 Freya and Paul May 17, 2007 at 6:54 pm

I have a cauliflower in my fridge and some frozen peas – and now I have a great, original way of preparing them! Sounds great, thanks!


6 sunita May 17, 2007 at 8:38 pm

Freya and Paul,welcome to my world…do go on and give it a try…


7 Sig May 17, 2007 at 11:15 pm

Sunita, I can comment again :) … Glad you gave coconut milk a try… it is a life saver for me, anything tastes better with coconut milk… :) . Your curry looks very yummy!


8 Anonymous May 18, 2007 at 6:14 am

Hi Sunita…

I am jyothi from Bangalore India… I came across ur website thru Anita Bora’s Blog.. Amazing is the word I can use to describe ur blog.. I really appreciate ur effort, first of all for cooking such yummy stuffs, then clicking photos and puting it on the net so beautifully… well all this wld really take lot of effort .. Alas, I am sure u enjoy this to th e core..very creative and sponteneous blog… I am trying many of ur dishes…

Thanks is wat I can say….


9 sunita May 18, 2007 at 10:41 am

Sig, I’m glad too for trying it and am hooked…


10 sunita May 18, 2007 at 10:42 am

Jyothi,welcome to my world…thanks for the nice words…just trying to capture the things I’m passionate about…


11 Sandeepa May 18, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Even for me this is unusual. We only use C. Milk for Prawn Malaikari.
Adding it to cauliflower would never have crossed my mind :) But if you say its tasty it must be surely


12 sunita May 18, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Sandeepa, I added the c.milk to the cauliflower on a whim…liked the taste though…


13 Sharmi May 18, 2007 at 5:48 pm

never knew coconut milk had so many health benefits, all I knew was that it had lot of cholesterol. but once in a while I think its no harm. loved the look of your gravy. will go great with rotis.


14 sunita May 18, 2007 at 9:16 pm

Sharmi,glad to make you all the wiser …nice to have you over…have a great weekend…


15 Sukanya Ramkumar May 19, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Coconut milk curry….WOW I love it. Nice colourful dish. I think I am going to try it out.


16 sunita May 19, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Hi Sukanya, do go on and give it a try…nice to have you over…


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