This past weekend, my husband and I decided to check out the Little India of LA. It’s not as big as the Little India on Gerrard Street in Toronto, but the lack of “dinginess” was very appealing to me. Now I consider myself a Canadian through and through, however there’s nothing like going to an area where your community congregates to; the sights, sounds and smells make you feel like you’ve just come home.
We walked around the entire neighbourhood and discovered Saffron Spot, a drinks and snack stop tucked away in a corner. It’s decor reminded me of Demetris. The bright pops of colour on the walls and the ice cream and falooda display cases. We didn’t end up getting anything, but because the menu had ice cream flavours like Badam Pista, Fig Walnut, Kulfi Kreme, Lychee, Masala Tea, and Saffron Silk and various kinds of falooda, we knew we’d definitely come back. After making our way back onto the main street, we checked out a few movie stores, some interesting eating places and a grocery store that, from now on, will supply my needs for spices, dals, rice, flour and fresh vegetables. We were pretty giddy when we walked into Pioneer (it’s the Iqbal’s of LA). The quality and freshness of the produce and spices was easy to spot. Also, the fact that they had everything you could possibly need to make South Asian cuisine was amazing. I have had trouble locating certain spices and vegetables, but thanks to Pioneer, that is no longer the case!
We ended our tour with a stop to Ambala’s, a desi mitae shop. It has nothing on Brar’s in Mississauga or Al-Karam in Scarborough, but it will have to do.
Speaking of fresh vegetables, the recipe I’m going to share is a Gobi (Cauliflower Curry) salan.
1 head of cauliflower, cut into tiny florets
1/2 tsp of garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped and browned
1/3 tsp hyde (turmeric) powder
1/4 tsp ghara mirch (red chili powder), adjust as necessary
1/4 tsp salt, adjust as necessary
1 tomato, diced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 serrano chili, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp fresh kotmeer (cilantro), washed and chopped
In a stainless steel pot, add minced garlic and oil. Slightly brown the garlic and then add the browned onions. Cook the garlic and onions for a minute or two and then add the hyde (turmeric), ghara mirch (red chili powder), and salt. Add in the chopped cauliflower florets and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently. When the cauliflower is tender, add the chopped tomato and serrano chili and cover the pot. Let the flavours meld for a few minutes. At this point check the flavour of the cauliflower- add more salt and ghara mirch if necessary. Add the lemon juice and put the lid on again. Turn the heat down so the cauliflower is cooking on a low simmer. When the cauliflower is just about cooked through, add the chopped kotmeer (cilantro) and stir into the cauliflower. Check the spice level one more time, add spices if necessary. Turn off the heat and keep the cauliflower covered, the kotmeer will steam in the residual heat.
Serve with warm rotis.