Cauliflower 65

I first tasted this style of preparation (it was actually Fish 65) at a restaurant in Hyderabad in the mid-1990s. I loved it. It was Cauliflower 65spicy, sprinkled generously with fried curry leaves and green chillies; and went well with beer!

Over the years, I learnt that this is a popular appetiser which originated in Chennai at the Buhari Hotel in 1965. Gossipmongers still maintain that for making Chicken 65, there are 65 chillies that are used for 1 kg of chicken (which sounds preposterous as it will be so fiery that it will numb ones tastebuds).

This recipe is a version of the Chicken 65 for the vegetarians.

Preparation Time : 12 minutes
Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Portion : 4 portions
Cauliflower Florets 4 cups
Ginger Paste 2 tablespoons
Garlic Paste 2 tablespoons
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder 4 tablespoons
Fennel Powder 1 tablespoon
Cumin Powder 1 tablespoon
Turmeric Powder 1 tablespoon
Freshly Crushed Black Peppercorns 1½ tablespoons
Curd 2 tablespoons
Lemon Juice/Vinegar 2 teaspoons
Corn Flour 2 tablespoons
Salt 1½ teaspoon
Coconut Oil For deep frying
For garnishing:  
Green Chillies (slit and deseeded) 10 nos.
Curry Leaves 3 sprigs
Coriander Leaves (optional) 1 stalk
Shallots (optional, finely sliced) 1 no.

Preparation Method:

1.           Wash the cauliflower florets in salted water, drain and pat dry using a tissue paper

2.          Add all the ingredients in a bowl (except the coconut oil). Add in the curry leaves and green chillies as well. Mix well, cover the bowl and leave for about 10 minutes to marinade

3.          In a wok, heat the oil on a medium-high flame. When hot, fry the cauliflower in 2 or 3 batches by adding in the florets individually. Fry till the vegetable turns reddish and is cooked. Remove from the wok and drain onto a paper towel. Fry the remaining cauliflower in a similar fashion. Fry the green chillies and curry leaves. Remove from the wok and drain on the paper towel

4.         Arrange onto a platter or serving bowl. Serve hot.

·         Can substitute the coconut oil with sunflower oil or any other odourless oil

·         Commercially, the ‘65’ spice mix includes red colour. I have not used this as it doesn’t add any flavour to the dish.

·            Can substitute the cauliflower with broccoli, tofu, mushrooms or baby corn.
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