Meeting a cousin after many many years, doesn’t that define ultimate happiness? How many times these days does a person get to meet his cousins? 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, any cousin? Yes, ANY cousin. A cousin is a cousin and it is extremely painful to get to that point and precisely define degrees of cousinhood for all in the family! You see how the family sizes have been dramatically declining through generations? Let’s take just my paternal family for instance, and only 4 generations from that long pedigree. My grandfather were 12 siblings (God bless him!), while my father were 4. My younger brother and I are 2, taken together. And I have 2 children (thank goodness S and I planned our littlest one and defied these “shrinking algebraic equations”!). By that, my father’s were a big whooping troop of 46 paternal cousins (plus he had dozens of maternal cousins)!! And while I am part of an 8-only-cousins pack (paternally), my little girl J doesn’t have a 1st cousin yet. Neither my, nor S’s brother have a kid yet. Wow!!! The Incredible Shrinking Indian Family. Or how about a new movie called “Honey, I shrunk the family?” Ah, well…
J thoughtfully asked me once, “Mumma, how does it feel to have a cousin? I don’t have any?”. “It is wonderful when cousins meet. You shall see for yourself”, I said to cheer her up.
All this while, I was smiling to myself within. Good Lord! I’ll get to see “my” own cousins too!! It was a “yay” moment for me because it’s been more than 8 years since I’ve met any of them. So this year, when we were in India, we visited 3 of my cousins, and 1 S’s. And J got to see a couple of her 2nd cousins. It was a lot of fun for her. They ran all over the house, monkeyed around, made silly faces, hugged, clicked pictures, acted goofy, laughed and what not. J had a blast. and can’t wait to go back to see them again!
They say friends are forever, but cousins are for life. They were probably your first best friends. That somebody other than your own sibling, who you can share your secrets with, fight, reconcile, tell upon, hug, play, giggle or scream your heart out with. It was emotional for me to see and meet my cousins after so many years. Isn’t it a beautiful thing to know that someone you do not get to meet/talk to often, is related to you? That you share some of your genes with him/her, and that person also belongs to the larger family you were born in?
Since I grew up in a different state than the rest of my greater family, I remember visiting them, almost every summer with my parents. We cousins were all a couple years apart and loved to meet. We’d all laugh and joke about how our Moms and Dads resemble their siblings and shared some of the habits! It was amusing, especially when all of us could get together at our grandparent’s. There would be a house full of children, chaos, the “aahs”, the “oohs”, good food, and most of all, lots and lots of happiness. We kids would all rush outdoors during the day to play, gossip or just hop around to our heart’s content. Cousins are the only species of children who your parents would never ask you to stop playing with – one, because you meet them during a vacation and there is no homework to do…and two, because your parents wouldn’t have an appointment to meet somewhere and drag you along! I still remember how we’d all pack up when it got dark, and run back in, to curiously look around and know who was sleeping where. Grandma and Grandpa would always have these extra mattresses, pillows, comforters and blankets that made great “to-go” beds and sleeping bags. We would all eat and camp out through the night.
A thousand good old happy memories came flashing in my mind when I saw them this year. I wish life was a little simpler, a little easier, that we all weren’t so caught-up in things, and that we could meet more often.
It’s funny, but at the grocery the other day, while I was picking up my veggies, I was thinking about the cousin-connect and looked at the cauliflower and broccoli in a certain way. Yes, they ARE cousins, and why should they be always cooked separate? Why not bring them together into a recipe and cook? Yes, cook for cousinhood!!! But cauliflower and broccoli have different cooking times — broccoli being the delicate darling here. This recipe cleverly overcomes this difference (by frying them separately) and makes best use of the cousin florets! The dish turned out to be blissfully amazing. S and I ate with our hands, dipped our fingers and licked them clean. J loved it too and said this one cheated the reputation Broccoli has with the kids! It was that good. Yes, it isn’t one that’s ideal for the calorie conscious, but this dish would not make you feel guilty ever. A definite must try…
- 1 Medium Brocoli head
- 1 Medium Cauliflower head
- 1 Bay leaf (tezpatta)
- 2 cups chopped onions (pyaz)
- 6 large garlic cloves (lehsun)
- 3 tbsp chopped ginger (adrak)
- 1 Indian hot green chilly (Optional)
- 1 tbsp dry red chili flakes or Paprika (Optional)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder (grab one from the Indian store!) or 1 tsp Indian curry powder
- 2 tbsp plain and beaten yoghurt (dahi)
- 1 can of coconut milk (about 14 fl oz or 400 ml)
- 25-30 cashew nuts
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 4-6 tbsp Clarified butter (Ghee) or mildly salted butter or olive oil (the ghee enhances the taste in this dish)
- 0.5 cup light Olive oil (for frying the veggies)
- Salt to taste
- With minimal water, grind the onion, ginger, garlic and green chilly into a smooth paste
- Soak the cashews for about 10-15 minutes in water. Grind them to a paste using little water. Preserve for use
- Wash the broccoli and cauliflower well and divide them into big, generous and luxurious pieces
- Take a big, heavy and deep Kadai (Indian cooking pot) or a Dutch Oven with lid. Add the olive oil in the kadai and place it on medium-high heat
- Add the cauliflower florets in the oil and fry them until they are slightly browned. Please do this step carefully – washed cauliflowers splutter a lot in hot oil. Once done, fish out the cauliflowers into a container
- Switch the stove to low-medium, since broccoli’s cook quickly. Add broccoli florets into the oil and give a quick stir. As soon as you notice slight browning, switch off the stove and carefully take out the broccoli into the container. (The broccoli should brown lesser than cauliflower. We fry cauliflowers a little more so they get cooked a little and can be finished till done, together with broccoli florets.)
- Now pour the ghee or butter in the kadai and place it over medium stove heat. Add the bay leaf and the onion-paste
- Saute and fry the paste till it dries up a little, leaves some aroma and looks fried and done.
- Add yogurt to the paste and quickly mix for a few seconds. Add the red chili flakes, garam masala powder, and then pour in the coconut milk.
- When you see the coconut milk boiling rapidly, add the fried cauliflower and broccoli florets.
- Adjust salt. Keeping stirring the boiling goodness to avoid it from burning. Add the cashew nut paste.
- The gravy should reduce down to a nice thick consistency and the cauliflower and broccoli should be done well. The florets must not be boiled too much — their stems should’ve lost their crunch, but not mushy and overcooked. They should be cooked just till done, and must retain their shapes/sizes towards the end.
- Once done, add in the heavy cream and mix. Switch off the stove and transfer the “Cousins in Curry” to a serving dish. Enjoy it with your favorite bread or steamed basmati rice.
~~ If you notice that the florets have cooked nicely, but the gravy hasn’t reduced down to the volume/consistency that you’d like, then spoon out the florets into another container, and let the gravy evaporate on the stove top as much as desired. You could then pour the gravy on the florets, once done.
~~ In case you see that the gravy is boiling and getting thick rapidly, but the big florets haven’t been cooked enough, then use a lid and cover cook until done.