So the story goes like this. A few days ago, a few of my friends visited me for a weekend from the bay area. During our 2 months of planning for 2 days of fun, one of the gals asked me if I make chettinad masala for dosas. And my reply was - not really but we sure can try. And that is how this recipe here was born. I quickly googled and the little I saw, all chettinad masala recipes had ginger, garlic and spicy chillies. Ok, that's a good start.
And at this point, I have to take a detour from this story to another one. One from a few years back..actually many years. Our family friends of decades are Chettiars and we used to visit them at least once or twice a month. They made the best dosas and idlis ever. They had a cook in their house who showed me how she makes those super paper thin dosas. She basically would make the dosa and then scrape off all the excess batter from the top of the dosa. The only thing left on the griddle would be what's sticking to it. And when it just peels off beautifully from the well seasoned 'dosa kallu', it would be a super crisp paper thin dosa. And then that dosa would be served along with a couple of awesome chutneys and a cauliflower based masala. You'll see where this leads to.
So, this dish below here may not even be authentic Chettinad cuisine. But, excuse my enthusiasm to call it just that. But, whatever the name might be, this is a keeper recipe for me. Jumping back to the original story, I made this the weekend my friends were here and it was a runaway hit. I've made it a couple of times again since then and the most toughest part is to keep my hands off it. Literally, I find myself picking it with my finger and licking it while I'm making dosas for the family. Its like a 'can't resist' thing going on here.
Start off with getting your basic ingredients in place.
1 cup of chopped onions
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
About 8-10 single pieces of garlic peeled but not chopped
1-2 tsp of chopped fresh ginger
1-2 chopped green chillies
A few curry leaves
Chop up some cauliflower into tiny pieces. Just cut them into thin slices and turn the slices around and chop further into little bits.
In a pan, add 2 tsp of cooking oil. When hot, add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add 1 tsp of cumin seeds. And then add about 3-4 pieces of dried red chillies.
Now, add all the good stuff in - curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute for a couple of mins until the garlic starts to brown up.
Then, add the onions and cook for a few mins until they turn translucent.
Then. add the chopped tomatoes.
Then, add the chopped cauliflower bits in here and mix well.
Time for some seasonings. Add all of these below -
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder (heaped if you like it spicy!)
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp rasam powder (heaped..and this time its a must)
About 1/2 tsp sambar powder
Mix all the flavors well and let this cook for a few mins. When the masala starts to turn soft, pick up a masher and start showing your strength.
Once you mash it up nicely, add a couple of tsps of oil again and let it cook for about 5 mins.
Let it cook until you don't see individual pieces of anything in there. No separate tomatoes or cauliflowers. They will all be kind of mashed up together now. And you're done! You can add some chopped cilantro at the end. I wanted to but did not have fresh leaves at home, so just skipped that.
Now, how about some spicy masala - all kicked up and ready to go.
Spread them on your dosa while on the tawa. Fold and serve hot dosas with Spicy chettinad cauliflower masala.
Give me this every day of the year and I can eat it without complaining.
Thank you GG for asking me about this. I now have a new favorite masala!
Just for my sake, please make this in your kitchen today or sometime soon. And I too can then just imagine you standing there and finger-licking this!
Enjoy. Peace out.