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 spicy, 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|
|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|
|Lemon Juice/Vinegar||2 teaspoons|
|Corn Flour||2 tablespoons|
|Coconut Oil||For deep frying|
|Green Chillies (slit and deseeded)||10 nos.|
|Curry Leaves||3 sprigs|
|Coriander Leaves (optional)||1 stalk|
|Shallots (optional, finely sliced)||1 no.|
|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.|