Phulgobhi Tarkari (Cauliflower Curry)

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With winter (which is almost nearing an end at our side here in Australia) comes dry skin. The environment can be quite harsh. With temperatures reaching in lows -5 at nights we have our heaters turned on at highest to keep ourselves nice and toasty. Heaters and hot showers dries my delicate ageing skin. Although I can moisturise most parts of my body but we all know it’s difficult to reach our backs. I once invested in a moisturiser applicator for the back but it didn’t do a great job like a pair of hands would. My DH dislikes the stickiness of the creams so he refuses to put it on for me bahhhh! 😫 When I beg and plead him to put some on he responds with a “yeh peeth hai??😱 Isko peeth kehte hai kya? yeh toh peettha hai peettha!!! Hinglish translation – is that a back? You call this a back? It’s not a back it’s a surf board!! Such wonderful terms of endearment lol. Now that leaves my daughter Mishka who is too young to understand how and what to do.

So if there’s no moisturising then your poor back ends up suffering from severe draught followed by cracks, flakes and an itch that makes you want to force someone at gunpoint to scratch it!!! I’m sure you don’t need to know all these gross details on a food blog but please continue reading. Anyways, recently my back was itching really bad…bad enough to almost bring me to tears. I tried the back scratcher mum gave me (shaped like a hand attached to a long handle with slightly curved fingers) but that felt like I was marking crop circles with the hairs on my back. I tried to guide my daughter to scratch but she got in her acting mode and pretended to be my masseuse instead. I was on the verge of throwing myself on the floor and rolling around like “I was on fire” kinda crazy when I remembered something my mum used to do back in Fiji. It used to make me giggle everytime I saw her do it. She used to look so helpless yet comical.

I then decided to use my mum’s method as the last resort. So there I was, with my back leaning on the corners/edges of the hinged side of my bedroom door looking like I was attempting a seductive salsa with it from the rear. Just lean your back against it (unclothed of course) and move side to side and wriggle up and down. Like your hesitant scratchees fingers this method doesn’t target only certain spots…it gets to your entire back! Woohoo!! With your scratchees method you actually end up more frustrated as you plead with them to move a bit to the right, no left, no up a bit and just a little down and they just never seem to get it! With my mum’s method I was in scratch heaven. It was almost euphoric! Just make sure no one catches you in action or they will think you have a strange fetish with your door! As for mine we now share a special bond. This winter it was the Salsa…next will be the Lambada! Wooppaa!!!💃

* Kids please do not attempt this stunt at home and adults ensure your doors hinges and corners of your walls are strong enough to cope with the rough handling – try at your own risk!

3-4 Cups Of Cauliflower Florets
1 Small-Medium Sized Onion
2 Medium Sized Tomatoes (I used Roma variety)
1/2 Tspn Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2-3 Garlic Cloves
2 Tbspn Oil
Salt To taste

• Cut Cauliflower florets, wash and set aside.
• Slice onions lengthwise and crush the garlic.
• Chop tomatoes roughly.
• Heat oil in a pan and add jeera/cumin seeds. Allow it to lightly brown.
• Now add onions and saute till browned.
• Next add chopped tomatoes and cook till slightly mushy.
• Finally add the Cauliflower florets and cook covered on low heat settings until done.

This dish is best served with roti/chapati.


Kaddu Tarkari (Pumpkin Curry)

I have a belated Halloween special today..Pumpkin (Kaddu) curry. My mum who is currently visiting cooked this for us. I was craving it for sometime so I decided I’m finally going to learn how to cook it. I was surprised when she told me it was pretty much cooked the same way as most other vegies. The same simple ingredients were used. Sometimes we add dry mango pieces to add a slight variation to the sweet taste of pumpkin.

Ahhh speaking of Mango reminds me of my childhood. So here we go into my flashback…I miss those days where we did absolutely nothing and sleep under the shade of mango trees. We ate mangoes like there was no end to it. It was almost eaten like a meal. We used to have mango picnics with family and friends. It was like a mad obsessive mango gorging session…green mango dipped in sugar, dipped in salt and chilli, mangoes eaten every which way you can think of. Funnily though no one spoke of the after effects of it the next day. ☺️

When I was a kid I was often teased as being a Kaddu (Pumpkin) or for looking like one for the roundness of it I guess. You see I have always been a chubby girl. Of course at that time I used to break out into tears but now I think it’s kind of cute. For some reason being called a Pumpkin in English doesnt sound as bad as being called a Kaddu in Hindi. Why does every derogatory term sound so bad in Hindi…beats me!

Call me whatever you want in English, to my ears that’s music but in Hindi you will wish you hadn’t. 😡 For example saying something like “you are such a witch!” sounds a bit tame…kind of almost decent but try saying it in Hindi…”you are such a chudail!!!!” and it doesnt stop there it ends up with the addition of ghosts, ghouls and demons too. Happy belated Halloween.

1/2 of a Kent/Jap Pumpkin
1 Onion
2-4 Garlic Cloves
3-5 Curry Leaves
1-2 Small Green Chillies
Pinch of Mustard, Cumin and Fenugreek Seeds
1-2 Tbspn Oil
Salt To Taste
Pinch of Sugar (optional)

• Slice onion and crush garlic.
• Wash and peel the hard skin of Pumpkin. Remove the seeds from inside and cut the smooth fleshy bits into small to medium sized cubes.
• Heat oil in pan and add mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Once it starts to splatter add onions, garlic, chillies and curry leaves and brown lightly.
• Now add pumpkin and cook until mushy soft on low heat setting.

This dish is best served with Puri (deep fried bread).