They had served us these huge cauliflower flowerets, that seemed to have been grilled in coal. They were dark brown, smoky and very tasty! A long time after that day, I tasted an equally good version at ‘Shiv Kripa’, opposite Talao Pali, in Thane.
My husband and I used to eat there often when we were courting, and the waiters there would recognize us as their loyal ‘tandoori gobi’ customers. Now ‘Shiv Kripa’ is overshadowed by the presence of bigger hotels with finer interiors, and I find that the previous standards are not met any more! They no longer serve this wonderful delicacy – maybe it wasn’t publicized enough! (Another droolworthy dish was their ‘lal mirchi ka achaar’ – I discovered a better version at Vandana’s house – home made and she usually shares a whole jar with me!!)
I have tried tandoori gobi in many other places since, but no one has been able to replicate the standards set by ‘Shiv Kripa’…..until about 3 years back. I had been leafing through my recipe collection (The ones copied from Mummy’s collection, from magazine cutouts etc.), and found a half jotted recipe of ‘tandoori gobi’. I had written down the ingredients but not the method! That was enough for me. I tried making it using the ingredients a marinade, coating half done cauliflowers with it. Allowed it to dry in the fridge (To rob the moisture), and then deep fried a few and grilled the rest over the gas directly. The result was tasty but my gas burner was choked up from the marinade running into it!
Now I have somewhat perfected the recipe, using Nita Mehta’s version as my guide. I once tried following her recipe to the tee – it is equally good and almost the same except for the addition of peppercorns, and use of tandoori masala (which I do not buy!)
Plan a day before you actually would like to make the dish – the more it marinates the better it tastes! Otherwise it is an easy dish.
Recipe: Tandoori gobi
Ingredients for the marinade:
Tobe prepared and refrigerated overnight.
Fresh Curd (Hung in a muslin cloth to drain the water completely) – 1/2 kg. (I make this as a vegan too, but I use cashew curd instead of dairy curd)
Chilli powder – 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp.
Bengal gram flour (Besan) – 1/2 tsp.
Salt – to taste
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp. (I do not use this!)
Black salt powder (Kala namak) – 1/2 tsp.
Sambar powder – 1/2tsp.
Salsa sauce – 1/4 tsp.
Ingredients for topping before serving:
Red chilli powder – 2 tsps.
Lime juice – 1/2 cup.
Sugar – a pinch of icing sugar.
Mix the three together in a bowl and set aside to be used at the time of serving.
Method for marinade:
1. Hang the curd in a muslin cloth till the water is completely drained.
Method for the tandoori gobi:
1. I power steamed big cauliflower flowerettes in the microwave adding a little salt till just done in two or three batches. Alternatively you may steam it adding a little salt over boiling water till half done. You do not want it cooked at this stage.
2. Drain the cauliflower in a sieve completely. If possible pat dry gently with a towel.
3. Lightly toss the flowerettes in the marinade taking care that they do not break. Remove each floweret and push the marinade inside the nooks so that it is well coated.
My peas have been blanched in salted water and the shine is due to lime juice.
Tip: Cover the tray with aluminium foil to catch the drip if any so that your tray does not end up with hard dried marinade!
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