My daugthers and I enjoy wandering around the various farmer's markets in San Francisco and tasting fresh cheese, wholesome jams and whatever the stands are offering. I walk away with arms full of gorgeous vegetables and when I get home I wonder what was I thinking in purchasing five bunches of bok choy and two heads of cauliflower. I think farmer's markets rely on impulse purchases by people like myself and my daughters who get very excited about seeing the colorful stands and the thought of trying something new and exciting.
So, if you have a head of cauliflower that you don't know what to do with, give this recipe of Gulpea a try. You will be surprised by it's flavors and it will likely be a hit with your kids.
According to my friend Ghulam Qader Popal, whom I consider an expert on Afghanistan, cauliflower originated in the Mediterranean, traveling from Portugal through the Indian Subcontinent and landing in Jalalabad, a city in eastern Afghanistan. It’s easy to see the Indian culinary influence in this recipe. Almost the entire supply of Gulpea still comes from mild-weathered Jalalabad. But growers can also be found in Qunduz, Helmand and Kandahar Province. The most lucrative farming product in these regions, of course, remains the poppy seed.
That bit of trivia aside, the end result of this cauliflower is a delicious and easy dish which I hope you will try. Gulpea can also be made with beef or lamb but in this post I am sharing the vegetarian version which I feel has the best flavor. Now I have to find a recipe for my 3 pounds of fava beans.
Tender Afghan Cauliflower Curry
Qorma e Gulpea
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, pureed in a food processor or finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, pureed in a food processor or finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (optional)
1 tsp. ground curry
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 head cauliflower, washed, stem removed, cut into large pieces
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottom pot. Add the onions and brown for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cauliflower.Stir well and simmer for about 8 minutes until the liquid reduces and you have a thick, oniony sauce.
Add the cauliflower and stir until the sauce covers all the pieces of the cauliflower. If you feel you don't have enough sauce to coat the cauliflower, add another 1/4 cup of broth.
Put the lid on the pot, cook on low for 20 to 30 minutes until the gulpea can be easily pierced by a fork, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce.The cooking time will vary but you want the result to be fork-tender, but not mushy.
Serve with nan, pit bread, or challaw, the Afghan white rice. A dollop of plain yogurt makes a heavenly addition.
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