American Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s traditional to cook a whole turkey for the feast. This year, how about going a non-traditional route by cooking something totally different? My Gobhi Musallam/Whole Cauliflower Basket is the perfect way to impress all your guests, especially those who are vegetarian and always feel left out. This would be great for your Christmas feast too! Gobhi Musallam, aka Roasted Whole Cauliflower Basket, is a very popular North Indian dish, a vegan delicacy for your festive dinner get-together.
Winter is Coming and It’s Coming Way Too Fast!
It was 74 degrees that weekend and I was talking to my husband about how gorgeous fall is in Minnesota. I enjoyed my weekend farmer’s market and checked on my tomato plant that was still producing gorgeous tomatoes. I had a feeling that the temperature would be gorgeous until Thanksgiving. It felt unreal, magical and dreamy. But nope! I woke up the next day to a cool breeze and was shocked after I saw the weather on my phone. “Snow showers!” I screamed to my husband!? I better bring some of my herb plants indoors, I thought to myself. And I hoped that the weather would get back so we could at least finish the fall clean-up. But it never did ?.
Do you feel the cool breeze coming through the windowsill and doors? Are you getting all your winter gear out, putting the winter tires in your car, bringing some of your plants indoors and getting ready for the cold season? Even before November started, we already had snow on the ground. Weird, right? But I guess not for Minnesotans; it’s normal here to get snow in October. I feel like everyone in the city was prepared besides us, even after getting two snow showers already. Who else does the closet shifting with change of the season? Well, I never experienced snow while growing up, but I always saw my mom changing the closet with the changing seasons. I never had to do it all the years I have been living in the States – until now, that is, after moving to Minnesota. We all do it here, I guess! And I am still learning the process. It’s fun, but I get lazy at times. Planning for each season can be quite a task.
November is also the month of gratitude, and there is so much to be thankful for in life! Life in general has so many wonderful experiences to offer. First, I am really thankful to all of you??. I know it sounds cliche, but I truly mean it. You all are the reason I keep going with my blog and I truly enjoy creating some fun memories and recipes for you all to enjoy. So, thank you all so much for always supporting and showering me with love. ❤️ I also want to show my gratitude to all the farmers for their endless hard work and effort they put in to cultivate crops for us. Imagine the world without fresh fruits, vegetables, and other crops! Impossible, right? Farmers play a key role in our society, and it’s all because of their hard work that we get to enjoy these gorgeous seasonal crops. I come from an agricultural family background, and I can’t be more thankful to all the farmers. It is very important to support local farmers and cook with local seasonal crops. And of course, the farmer’s market has been full of fall abundance these days. Even though fall is almost at it’s end unofficially, we still get to enjoy the produce.
Fall Abundance – Cauliflower
It’s the season for pumpkins, squash, and gourds. However, there is one fall vegetable – cauliflower – that gets neglected among the bright vibrant pumpkin family. I always see cauliflower as a side dish that makes me sad, looking at the cute little pale florets. I mean, in spite it’s pale looks and weird shape, I feel cauliflower has a lot of character to it and is super versatile. It’s also one of the calciferous vegetables that are supposed to be very important for your health. I am sure you all must have seen the creative uses of cauliflower lately. People are substituting rice with it, making pizza crust, and putting it in their smoothies. Like I said, it’s versatile! I have grown up eating a lot of cauliflower, but not in the form of substitutions. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I cook lot of vegetarian meals. And I can blame (as well as thank) my family for this, who only cooked vegetarian meals before. And now I love cooking with seasonal produce! I feel that not all dinner parties or festive get-togethers require meat or seafood, even though I love sea food?. Vegetarian meals can be a real delicacy and can be a highlight of any festive get-together. So, I decided to make Gobhi Musallam, aka Roasted Cauliflower Basket, as my star dish for the upcoming festive gathering. The best thing about cauliflower is that it doesn’t have too much of its own taste and it really takes all the flavors you add to it. For Gobhi Musallam, I baked the whole cauliflower in a delicious rich Harissa sauce and loaded up with nuts and dried fruits. Topped off with dried rose petals, nuts, and cilantro, it looks seriously festive! You can get so many varieties for Harissa and they all taste slightly different. I have only tried two store kinds – one is from Trader Joe’s and another from Entube. For this dish, I used Entube Harissa Paste, and it has so much flavor in the paste that you don’t require too many spices. However, you could do this dish with Harissa or without it. The sauce can be made few days in advance and you could store it in the refrigerator, or even freeze the sauce for longer storing times. This dish is a vegan and gluten-free delicacy and is a perfect main course for your fall and winter gatherings!
I would love to hear about your favorite seasonal produce. Also, if you want to share what you would be cooking for your festive gatherings, I would love to read those in the comments ? Hope you all have a wonderful festive season! Stay warm and enjoy the festivities!❤️✨
PS: Gobhi is an Indian name for Cauliflower 🙂
- 1 whole cauliflower
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 7-8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp ginger chopped
- 10 green cardamom
- 2 black cardamom
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 Thai chilli or cayenne peppers
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 tbsp dried mint leaves
- 1 tbsp entube harissa paste
- 1/4 cup cashews, soak in water
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp safflower soaked in water
- few springs of saffron soaked in water
- rose petals for garnish
- cilantro for garnish
- 2-3 tbsp oil for drizzle
- Soak cashews in water for 3-4 hours or soak in boiling water if there is not enough time while you prepare for the dish.
- Soak the saffron in the water.
- Prepare the baking dish by brushing it with oil.
- Take the green stalk out of the cauliflower, leaving just 1 layer of it and wash it properly.
- Blanch the cauliflower in salted water 8-10 minutes on each side.
- Put the cauliflower in the sieve to drain the water while you prepare the sauce.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. Sautee for a minute.
- Add onions and sautee for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add green cardamom, cinnamon, black cardamom, and bay leaf. Give it a quick mix
- Add chopped tomatoes. You don't have to chop them too fine as the whole mix will be blended into a puree.
- Then add fenugreek leaves, mint leaves, Harissa (if using) and cook on medium heat for around 7-8 minutes until the tomatoes are tender.
- Drain the cashews and keep them aside.
- Add the onion/tomato mix into your high-powered blender (I used Vitamin) along with the drained cashews and blend them into a smooth, creamy puree.
- Put the mix back into your pan on a low heat. Add a little water if the consistency is too thick.
- Add pistachios, cranberries, safflower, saffron water, garam masala.
- Cook on low for about 5 minutes and adult for salt and heat.
- The sauce needs to be on the thicker creamier side.
- At this point you can store the sauce for future use in the referigerator or freeze it for longer time.
- Put a little sauce on the baking dish and stand the cauliflower on top on the sauce.
- Drizzle a little bit of oil.
- Put the rest of the sauce on the cauliflower and make sure you gently put some sauce into the florets with your hand or spoon. Be careful not to break the the florets.
- This is just to ensure that the sauce really goes into the cauliflower and its flavored completely.
- Drizzle with oil and bake for 30-40 minutes until cauliflower is tender.
- Sprinkle cilantro and dried rose petals before serving.
- Enjoy this warm with rice, quinoa, naan bread, or any flat bread.
- You can make a big batch of sauce to store in freezer.
- If you're not using Harissa, put a tsp of cumin powder, a tsp coriander powder, and chilli powder in the onion/tomato mix while cooking.