When you are eating something as spicy and in-your-face (or should I say in-your-tongue) as Avre Bendi, the side dish has to be suitably subtle. Else, you risk having too many flavors, to enjoy any one of them. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Enter the upkari, the great konkani stir-fry.
This is just vegetables tempered with mustard seeds and dried red chillies cooked in a little water till done. Salt, of course and garnished with coconut gratings. If you have been following this blog, then you know by now that no konkani dish is finished without the addition of coconut gratings. After all, it is a coastal cuisine. Sugar or jaggery is added depending upon how bland or bitter the vegetable used is. However, with cauliflower, none is needed.
So on to the upkari….
1 cauliflower chopped into florets
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried whole chillies or a pinch of chilli flakes
1 tbsp Coconut Gratings
Heat up oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. After they sputter, add the chillies/flakes and the cauliflower florets. Add salt, a little water. Cover and cook till the florets soften and water dries out.
Very simple and very delicious. Just a few things to be careful about. Add very little water since cauliflower cooks very fast and releases water during cooking. Don’t overcook the vegetables. Just soften them enough and they are good to go. They go wonderfully with any spicy curry. In konkani cuisine, they are usually made to go with curry using beans or legumes and there, you have a complete meal….