The secret to the dish is the ghee, a clarified butter that is rich, nutty, and addicting. It's also, unfortunately, the one step that takes the longest. I have seen it sold in big jugs at Indian supermarkets, but I can't vouch for whether they are good substitutes. I suppose you could just use butter and the curry would still be flavorful. But making the ghee couldn't be simpler, and because it leaves the milk solids behind, it has a long shelf life.
This dish also continues my love affair with cauliflower, a mysterious vegetable that I had always passed on the vegetable tray. But when cooked it develops these haunting flavors which marry well with the spicy curry powder and the ghee. The chickpeas break apart toward the end of the meal, thickening the sauce and giving this meatless dish some heft. Thanks go to Tyler Florence for this one.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 head cauliflower, stem removed and chopped into florets
- 3 cups canned chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
Add the butter to a small saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low; cook for 45 minutes. Strain the liquid.
Pour the ghee into a large pot. Raise heat to medium; add the onion, curry powder, and ginger. Cook until onion is softened.
Add the tomatoes; cook for 6 minutes more.
Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, tomato paste, and 1 cup of water. Cover pot; cook 15 minutes. Remove lid; cook until liquid thickens. Stir until everything is coated. Season with salt and sprinkle with cilantro.