The single most favourite dish that I had tasted while in Punjab is the Honey Chilli Cauliflower, something that is very hard to find outside of the great land. Only recently though I have wanted to try and make it, and today I did. Of course, youtube ki jai for the lessons. This is how I made it:
This is a two-part procedure - one to fry the cauliflower and the second to make the gravy.
Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets, bite size. Take a few spoons of maida/all-purpose-flour in a bowl and add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to it. Also add a bit of oil. Mix the flour and add water to it as you do, to make a semi-thick batter that has no lumps in it. Now add the cauliflowerets to the batter and mix it well, but softly, so the batter covers them all but not break them into smaller portions while mixing. Now, deep batter-fry them on med-high flame until brownish in colour. Remove them from the oil and set them aside for use later.
Now, for the gravy. Add a tablespoon of cornflour to a cup of water, mix it well, and keep it aside. Take a few of tsp of oil in a frying pan, on med-high flame. Add to it garlic-ginger paste, chopped garlic, chopped ginger, chopped spring onions (and julienned capsicum if you have, I didn't). Let this fry for about a couple of minutes. (In my case, the home-made garlic-ginger paste started sticking to the pan floor, and I didn't know how to go around it, except stirring it clear.) The ingredients must be changing their colours a bit by now. Add the cornflower-water mix to this. Turn the flame to high. Add a tbsp of soy sauce, chili paste, tomato ketchup and ground black pepper to it. I didn't have chili paste, so I used chili powder/paprika, and some hot & sweet sauce. Add a spoonful of sesame seeds and a tbsp of honey. Keep stirring once in a while and allow the liquid to reduce to half, to a thick paste. Once it has, turn off the flame.
Wait for 5 minute after you turn off the flame and then mix the fried cauliflower to the paste and mix them well till the paste has coated all of the cauliflower. Transfer to your serving dish, sprinkle sesame seeds on top for aesthetics, and serve.
The dish should be crispy when prepared, with a sweet-spicy taste lent to courtesy the chili, the sauces and the honey. Soft onions and cabbage, julienned, marinated in lemon juice go well on top of this as a fine compliment in taste, texture and colour - that I know out of my dining experiences in Punjab.
Notes: I need to get better at batter frying (or as I later found out in the day, any kind of deep frying). I had some trouble finding the right thickness of the batter so that the cauliflower could hold on to it, I had to add a bit of cornflour to help thicken the batter. I need to hold myself back better in trying to not eat up the fried cauliflower and save them for the dish :-D . As of today, it's the best fried stuff.
There are two videos that I referred to while making this, and picked up steps from both: