Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the family of cabbage and broccoli. Only the head of the cauliflower is edible whereas the stalk and the thick green leaves are usually discarded, but in few instances used in soups and stews. The weight of cauliflower also varies from 200 grams to 1000 grams. Some of the most popular cauliflower dishes are aloo gobhi, chili cauliflower and baked cauliflower.
History of Cauliflower
The history of cauliflower is traced to the origin of wild cabbage. This wild plant used to have similar looks like kale and believed to have originated in the ancient times in Asia Minor. After lot of transformations, the real vegetable came into being during Mediterranean region and since 600 BC it has been considered as remarkable vegetable in Turkish and Italian cuisines. That was during mid 16th century that French were introduced to the cauliflower and started including cauliflower recipes in their menu.
Culinary Uses of Cauliflower
Though cauliflower has a bland taste of its own, it is regarded as a delight for vegetarians. Cauliflower tends to catch flavor from the spices and sauces used to make cauliflower recipes. As a vegetable, it is fondly used in stews, casseroles and even in salads. Usually, cauliflower is incorporated as a cooked vegetable. It can be boiled, steamed or fried before adding to any dish. Baked cauliflower dishes are quite popular in Western cuisine. The true companions of cauliflower while making cauliflower dishes are potato, onion and peas. Cauliflower potato is a highly admired side dish in many cuisines. Even pickled cauliflower is savored as an accompaniment. Little steamed cauliflower can be served as a crunchy snack that can easily substitute the carrot. Cauliflower can also substitute the regular mashed potato as boiled mashed cauliflower can make delectable cauliflower dishes.
Popular Cauliflower Recipes
- Cauliflower and cheese bake
- Cauliflower and broccoli salad – This side dish is a nice addition to the dinner table with some delectable and healthy ingredients.
- Aloo gobhi – This is one of the most popular Indian side dish. It is usually a dry vegetable but variation can be done by adding little gravy to the dish.
- Gobhi ke paranthe – Cauliflower is generally grated and stuffed to make Indian bread. Various spices and other ingredients are also added to the grated cauliflower.
Cuisines Commonly Making Cauliflower Dishes
- Cauliflower is popularly known as ‘gobhi’ in Indian cuisine and it is considered a treat for vegetarians. Aloo gobhi, gobhi korma, gobhi ke pakore and gobhi ke paranthe are some of the appetizing and famous cauliflower dishes in Indian cuisine.
- Chinese cuisine also incorporates cauliflower in its vegetarian dishes such as chili cauliflower, cauliflower soup and even beef with cauliflower.
- Italian, French, Turkish as well as American cuisine includes an assortment of cauliflower recipes that are served as well-liked appetizers, side dishes and main dishes.
Preferred Methods of Making Cauliflower Recipes
Steaming, boiling, frying, baking and stir-frying are some of the commonly used methods to make palatable cauliflower dishes. Even pickled, grated and mashed cauliflower are also incorporated in various diets.
Nutritive Value of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is an excellent source of Vitamin C and dietary fibers. Magnesium, starch and potassium are also found in abundance in this nutritional vegetable. High blood pressure, arthritis and constipation can be easily kept at bay by regular consumption of cauliflower recipes.
Buying and Storing of Cauliflower
The signs of fresh cauliflower are white, creamy florets that are tightly clustered. Green leaves surrounding the head keeps the vegetable fresh for longer, hence buy the flower with more green leaves. Uncooked cauliflower can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week, wrapped in a plastic bag. Cut florets should be consumed within 2-3 days as they tend to loose freshness very fast.
Types of Cauliflower
There are three varieties of cauliflower classified according to the color.
- Green cauliflower – It’s also called ‘broccoflower’ and a commercial sold vegetable in USA and Europe since 1990.
- Purple cauliflower – Mainly available in UK and Southern Italy. Its purple color is the result of the presence of an antioxidant.
- Orange cauliflower – Originally found in Canada and it contains large amounts of Vitamin A.