South Indian style Cauliflower Perattal aka Stir-fry using flash cooking technique.
I think Cauliflower is one vegetable that you can make it or break it. I don’t think there is a middle path. The most important thing while cooking Cauliflower is the texture. The Cauliflower needs to retain a certain amount of bite and not to be overcooked into a mush. It is so very easy to over cook this vegetable, as it is difficult to assess when to stop cooking in a open pot method. But with the OPOS flash cooking technique, I have found 100% success rate – fully cooked at the same time retains shape with a slight bite. Lets, look at the steps to make Cauliflower Perattal,
I prefer using red chili flakes for the perattal for a nice bite. I freshly ground some black peppercorns.Marination
Cut the Cauliflower into medium size florets and dunk them in hot, salted (I add a bit of turmeric too) water for couple of minutes. Drain the water. Here, I have used one medium head of Cauliflower which yielded 3 cups of florets. Take the florets in a mixing bowl, add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon Chili flakes, 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper powder and Salt as per your taste. Mix thoroughly. I usually prep the florets and let this marinade sit overnight in the refrigerator. Depending on the time in hand, you can either chose not to marinate it or do it for a minimum time. This helps with the spices seeping in deeply into the florets.Flash Cook
Flash cooking is a One Pot One Shot cooking technique, where we will cook the vegetables with minimum water at the highest heat, for the shortest possible time. This way we retain the maximum nutrients, color and texture.
Take a 2 liter pressure cooker or pan and add 1 tablespoon water. You don’t need more water than this. Tip in the marinated Cauliflower florets into the cooker. Shut the cooker, secure the whistle and cook for exactly one whistle on high flame or 900w in an induction. Yes, one whistle, it is ! Switch off and release pressure manually using a spoon or laddle. Open the cooker only after all the pressure has been released. Never ever, try to force open the cooker when there is still pressure.
Now, technically the cauliflower perattal is ready. You can transfer the florets into a cooler vessel to avoid further cooking . It tastes great ! If you want a crunchier outer texture, like how my daughter likes, please proceed to next step.
Heat a pan or kadai and add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add some curry leaves and saute briefly. Next, simmer the heat, add 1.5 teaspoons of gram flour aka kadalai maavu and saute for just a few seconds in the hot oil.
Add the flashed cooked cauliflower florets and spread them evenly in the pan. Just let them get a nice outer crunch. Don’t be tempted to stir or saute too many times. After one minute, just give it a quick stir, so all the sides get to be roasted. This whole process should not take more than 3-4 minutes, and the cauliflowers will get a nice brown, roasted coating.
I packed this cauliflower perattal for lunch today with Dal tadka and white rice. My colleagues loved it, and kept asking why I got so less !