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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  1. HI, First time here and loved your collection of yumm recipes. Happy to follow you and do drop in when you find time.

    Tickling Palates
    Event : Let’s Cook – Sweet Somethings

  2. This sounds so good! Love the cauliflower dishes and this one is a keeper for sure! Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful day sweetie!

  3. This looks really interesting - I haven't had such a version of cauliflower curry, but it looks delightful. As always, you have me drooling!

  4. This sounds delicious! I love the colors and the flavors makes one heavenly dish! Have a great day, Ramona!

  5. This curry looks delicious with a wonderful blend of flavours :D

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: 5 Min Wrap Pizza

  6. All right, I have a slightly past its prime head of cauliflower in my refrigerator that is now earmarked for a dish based on this. Bookmarked!

  7. Another wonderful cauliflower dish. I like your use of cumin and mustard seeds instead of the powder I'm sure it makes the dish much more aromatic too. Looks delicious. Have a happy day.

  8. Yum yum! Theres cauliflower in the air (haha)!!! I am making it tonight too! :)

  9. Another healthy curry recipe from you,I just love all ingredients in it,,,YuM :!!

  10. I cannot imagine nor do I want to know how many recipes have been lost over the years because they were never written down. I am sure your children will relish these many years from now as well.

  11. Hi Maria,

    All I can say is WOW! This is making me so hungry. As someone who has been an foreigner in a new land, several times, I can relate to your mom. But it is always fun trying out new ingredients to make them taste like home. Thank you for sharing :)

  12. deliciously done side dish looks wonderful

  13. This is a terrific dish, Ramona and a beautiful post. How lovely that you are able to document your mother's recipes for future gnerations!

  14. This cauliflower looks deliciously spicy and flavourful!

  15. This looks delicious, awesome job in preserving traditional recipes!

  16. What a coincicence! I made curry cauliflower today - but mine is without curry leaves, mustard seeds, and chilis, and I use curry powder instead of turmeric. As you see, your dish is far more delicious than mine. Now I know what to do next time. I was experimenting but it wasn't even close to what you were cooking! ;-) Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  17. Very delicious, authentic Srilankan food I guess, the mellun paste is very new, would love to try this out sometime, happy to follow U..

  18. I followed this to the T and really liked it. I don't know if my head of cauliflower was waaay to big, but i felt there was too much cauliflower, and not enough of the DELICIOUS mellun paste once cooked all together . also, i think the dish needed a good bit more salt. Btw, did steam the cauliflower mean cover the pan? It wasn't clear how to steam it, so i just sautéed it, but needed more water to do so since there was no oil at that stage.

  19. Awesome flavour to this mock green jackfruit mellun. So glad I stumbled upon your page. This is much easier to make than jackfruit. Trying your mum's chicken curry recipe today. I'm sure it will be a hit; (my apologies to Charmaine Solomon) whose chicken curry is also good. Will let you know how it went.

  20. All of us Loved this recipe. Making it for the second time today. Likely to become a regular. Thanks for sharing

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