Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cauliflower Mellun (Sri Lankan Curry)

When we came to the United States back in the early 70's there were so many kinds of fruits and vegetables my mother missed cooking from Sri Lanka.  My mother is a wonderful cook and she learned to adapt to the vegetables in this country and made them taste very much like dishes from back home.  This Cauliflower Mellun is one of her creations that really takes me back to my childhood.  The flavors are comforting and bright. We eat this dish as part of a rice and curry meal and it's really a star of the meal in my eyes. Since these recipes all live in my mother's head, I am so happy to have it written down and documented it now so more people can enjoy it.

1 large head of cauliflower
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 (1inch piece) of cinnamon
10-12 curry leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
2-5 whole dried chilies broken in half

Mellun Paste:
1/2 cup of dessicated coconut
1-2 green chilies
15-17 curry leaves
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of fennel seeds
2 Tbs of water

Wash the cauliflower and break in to very small florets and dice the stem pieces very small.  In a pan steam your cauliflower with the turmeric and salt. I used about 2-3 Tbs of water to help the steaming process. Add more water as necessary) Once the cauliflower is tender remove from pan.

 Now make the mellun paste by first using a spice grinder to powder the fennel seeds and black mustard seeds.  You can also do this in a mortar and pestle.

Then transfer the powdered seeds to a food process and grind it with the dessicated coconut, green chilies, curry leaves, cloves of garlic and 2 Tbs of water.  When the dry paste is formed set aside until later.

 Next add 1 Tbs of canola oil to the pan and fry the chopped onions, black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, broken dried chilies and curry leaves.

When the onions are softened add the steamed cauliflower and the mellun paste to the pan.  Mix all the three parts together well and taste for salt and seasoning. Fry for a few more minutes and then your dish is done.  Serve as part of a rice and curry meal.  Serves 6.  Enjoy.

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