Last week I reviewed an important new cookbook for Indian cuisine. Gunpowder, reviewed here, fully lives up to its name, with sensational recipes from the home kitchens and street vendors of Calcutta. I mentioned that I was reading the book and just got my wife, my car keys and went to the store. We shopped and she followed this recipe. If you have a Top 100 dishes in your life, then make room. Maybe the Top 20. Suzi and I are not vegetarians, not yet. But this dish will push you there.

You marinate broccoli in yogurt, cream cheese, mustard and a bevy of spices. Broil it and serve it with a tomato sauce that is undeniable Indian. Suzi was very proud. I asked her if she was actually Indian. I have often said she was Italian because of her pizza. She gave me a frown. She was, and always will be, a nice girl from Brooklyn.

In the cookbook review, I posted the book’s picture of this dish with the broccoli sitting in a deep yellow sauce. Uh, gee, my picture has a red sauce, the recipe calls for tomatoes, tomatoes we used, and red we got. I have no idea what happened. Photoshop experiment?

Even if Indian food is not your priority in life, just try this dish. It will give you a new perspective. And, golly, you might start eating broccoli! The authors of Gunpowder note you can make this with cauliflower, too. Since I can never tell which is which, an irritant to my wife, this is the perfect recipe for me.


Mustard Broccoli in Makhani Sauce

Yield: serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer or side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli, halved
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup full-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons mustard or canola oil, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon chickpea flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons ghee, melted
  • Sea salt
  • Makhani Sauce (recipe follows) and pickled beet, to serve

Preparation:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the broccoli for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under ice-cold water to prevent it from cooking further. Shake off any excess water and let sit.

In a large dish, mix the yogurt, cream cheese, mustard, chile powder, chaat masala, turmeric, cilantro, cumin, and 3 tablespoons of mustard or canola oil.

Set a skillet over medium heat and toast the chickpea flour for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, mix, and toast for an additional 30 seconds, making a fragrant paste. Whisk this into the yogurt mix, then thoroughly coat the broccoli in the creamy spice paste and let sit to marinade for 30 minutes.

Set your oven broiler to high and broil the broccoli, cut-side down, for 10-15 minutes, basting it with melted ghee. When golden on top, turn over and broil for an additional 5 minutes on the other side, or until nicely colored.

Serve on a base of Makhani Sauce (recipe follows) with pickled beetroot sprinkled on top.


Makhani Sauce

Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 ½ cups (1 pound) tomatoes, diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • Sea salt

Preparation:

Set a skillet over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Once melted, add the garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt and cook for a minute.

Fold the tomatoes and all the spices through. Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes have broken down and darkened in a color a little, about 5-10 minutes.

Spoon the mixture into a food processor or blender and puree until fairly smooth. Press through a strainer, giving you a smooth sauce. Warm the sauce gently in a pot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted, swirl in the cream.

Let the sauce gently bubble away over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until it has thickened and darkened further. Season with salt and the honey, if needed, to taste. Serve warm.


Source: Gunpowder by Harneet Baweja et al [Kyle, 2018]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑250