The Indian city of Varanasi (also called Benares) has a special place in history as one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. It also has a special place in the hearts of food lovers because of its dazzling variety of exciting street foods. Just like Delhi has its ancient Paranthewale Gali, Varanasi too has a Kachori Gali. So all you foodies out there – you know where to go on your next visit to Varanasi!
However, beyond the street food, Varanasi also has a traditional culinary style that has evolved over thousands of years, and has absorbed and integrated recipes and cooking styles from neighbouring regions – in particular, from the ancient kingdom of Avadh. As a result of these influences, the cuisine of Varanasi represents a melting pot of various culinary styles, methods and techniques.
So today we will be travelling to Varanasi to explore one of their traditional home-cooked recipes – a dry preparation of cauliflower cooked in Mustard Oil with a dash of typical Indian spices. The dish is called Benarasi Gobi Ki Sabzi.
Let’s get started by gathering the ingredients that you will require for making this dish.
Cauliflower (Gobi): 500 grams
Onion: 1, medium-sized
Garlic (Lasun): 5 cloves
Ginger (Adrak), grated: 1 teaspoon
Dry Red Chillies: 2
Mustard Oil: 2 tablespoons
Nigella (Kalonji) Seeds: 2 teaspoons
Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds: Half a teaspoon
Fennel (Saunf) Seeds: Half a teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 3 teaspoons
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Half a teaspoon
Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: One small bunch
Black Pepper Powder: Just a pinch
Salt: to taste
The quantities mentioned above are for serving four persons. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.
Wash the cauliflower and cut it into small florets. Place the florets in a bowl of hot water and add a teaspoon of salt. Let the florets soak in the hot water for around 20 minutes or so, and then drain the water. Keep the cauliflower florets aside.
Wash, peel and finely chop the onion.
Coarsely chop the coriander.
Grind the garlic, ginger and dry red chillies along with two teaspoons of cumin seeds into a thick, coarse paste. Keep aside.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. After a while the oil will reach its smoking point and start letting off wisps of aromatic (and slightly pungent) white smoke. Your oil is now ready for you to start the cooking process.
Reduce the heat to Medium and add the remaining teaspoon of cumin seeds, along with the fenugreek, fennel and nigella seeds. Sauté till the seeds begin to splutter.
Now add the onion and continue to sauté till the onion pieces turn light brown in colour.
Next, add the garlic-ginger-red chilli paste that you had kept aside earlier. Also add the turmeric and black pepper powder. Continue to sauté for another two minutes or so.
Now it’s time to add the cauliflower florets along with salt to taste. Stir to mix all the ingredients well and cook until the cauliflower is done. Remember, this is a dry vegetable preparation so keep the cauliflower a little on the crunchy side.
Turn the flame off. Transfer the contents of the pan to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves.
Your traditional Benarasi Gobi Ki Sabzi is now ready. Serve it hot along with fresh Chapattis straight off the tava.
You can find more recipes at : https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english/