Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cauliflower Upperi (Cauliflower Stir Fry Indian Style)

Eggplant Upperi, Cauliflower Upperi, Simple Dal, Rice, and
Cherry Tomatoes with Creamy Cilantro Dressing

Upperi is a simple, traditional, everyday, vegetable side dish from Kerala. It might be a contraction of 'upakari' or 'upkari' which means side curry. Whatever the origins of the word, the dish is delicious and simple to make.

There are two types of Upperi; one being a vegetable side dish and the other actually crisp chips or wafers from mainly plantain bananas and unripe jack fruits. Chips are also made from manioc or cassava roots, arbi corms, a true yam called chenai, bitter melons (parikkai), and of course potatoes - regular or sweet.

Many vegetables such as unripe green bananas, bitter melons, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green unripe papayas, green beans, cabbage, okra, eggplants, potatoes, bell peppers (capsicums), etc are all good candidates for making Upperi. Vegetables with a high moisture content like tomatoes are not used for making Upperi. The chopped (precooked until just tender if you like) vegetables are simply stir fried until slightly roasted with a little turmeric and salt. Upperi can be made with or without a little thalippu/tadka of mustard seeds, dry red chili, and urad dal.

Here is an Upperi using cauliflower, a family favorite.

Ingredients:

1 medium Cauliflower
1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Sambhar Powder (Optional)

Thalippu/Tadka:
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 or 2 Dry Red Chilies
1 Tbsp Urad dal
1 sprig fresh Curry Leaves

Method:

Wash the cauliflower well and drain. Separate into small bite-sized florets. Discard the tough central core but chop the stems into the same sized pieces as the florets.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok and add all the spices; when they become fragrant and the dal is pinkish, add the curry leaves, cauliflower pieces, salt, sambhar powder if using, and turmeric. Stir well, cover and cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until tender. Remove cover and stir cook for a few more minutes until the veggies brown slightly.

Serve hot with rice or chapatis, any stew-like dish such as mor kuzhambu/kootan, gothsu, dal, raita, etc.

2 comments:

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