Thursday, March 25, 2010
Low Fat Gobhi Bhaja - Oven Roasted Cauliflower Desi Style
In Bengali cuisine, vegetables like eggplant, potato, and cauliflower are spiced and lightly doused in chickpea flour (besan) or perhaps rice flour, and then deep fried (bhaja means fry). These tasty morsels are served at the start of or as an accompaniment to a meal. Begun bhaja (eggplant) is most famous, but any vegetable that does well when roasted can make for a faux bhaja in the oven.
In the interest of health, I have devised this oven-roast bhaja recipe. You can do the same thing with potatoes or eggplant in place of cauliflower, but be sure to adjust the cooking time. Traditionally, the veg would be fried in mustard oil. You can use that if you like, but I have used olive oil.
First prepare the cauliflower: 1 head of cauliflower, washed cut into bite sized florets, and set in a colander to strain until comletely dry. You must completely dry the cauliflower because any moisture left on it will prevent your faux bhaja from becoming crispy.
Set oven on highest heat setting, and prepare a cookie sheet/baking tray with a layer of aluminium foil.
Since cauliflower varies in size, I suggest that you adjust the ingredients slightly for a large or small head to ensure adequate seasoning. The recipe below is for a medium-ish cauliflower:
1 heaping tsp or so sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp turmeric
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chickpea flour (besan)
1 pinch of chaat masala
In a large mixing bowl, pour oil onto dried cauliflower florets. Toss in all of the other ingredients except for the chickpea flour and the chaat masala. Mix well so that the florets are well coated in seasonings and oil. Now add the chickpea flour and mix again to coat. Transfer cauliflower florets to baking tray and put in oven for 25 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is cooked but still slightly crunchy, and it looks crispy and golden brown on the edges. The brown crispy bits are amazing!
Remove from oven, sprinkle with chaat masala, and serve hot.