1 Head of Purple Cauliflower = 2 Appetizers


My kids are getting better after a week of cold and fever. Last weekend was little crazy as my kids were tired, sick and cranky. I started the Sunday with a good note. I went to farmer’s market to shop for produce and eggs for the week. My son got his share of caramel popcorn too. Everytime I go to shop at Farmer’s Market I feel like a kid in a candy store. I walk to my favorite shops to say hi to the farmers as I have known them for the last 2 plus years. I look for colorful ingredients and plan the meal accordingly. This time my top 3 favorite picks of the week were Purple Carrots, Purple Cauliflower and Watermelon Radish. Sunday was perfect as I made few foods for the week as I can’t think about not having anything eat when I get back after a long day at work. Generally when I get in, I prefer to drink chai and eat a bowl of some vegetable poriyals/subzi (stir fries). Most days, I will have cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, raddish/daikon or beans poriyal/subzi in the fridge. My son will come home super hungry so first thing he gets is a glass of warm milk followed by one or two snacks like popcorn (from Farmer’s market), apples, omapodi/sev, peanut or almond chikki or baby bananas. Then I relax for a bit and then I need to prep for dinner. I trust my pressure cooker for most of the meals. My cooking concept is simple – grab, chop and dump in to the cooker and let it do the rest of the job. I use Prestige Pressure Cooker and that is the brand my mom uses.

Cilantro Chutney Dip_2

I have been on strict no-carb/low-carb meals for the last few days. I created a 7 day menu chart. Please grab the pdf at the end of this post. I don’t want to get too excited about the process and jump on the weighing scale every morning. All I am concentrating on is to eat delicious meals with an Indian touch and also make sure that the same meal can be served with a rice or roti for my kids and husband. Many argue that one shouldn’t skip carbs from the meal but I would like to point out that most of my meal plan includes lentils/legumes or beans in it, so that has both proteins and complex carbs. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during my both pregnancies and I was insulin resistance so I was advised by doctors to watch my carbohydrate intake. Even though its complex carbs like quinoa, brown rice or broken wheat, moderation is key. I try to fill myself with proteins like eggs, mushrooms, tofu, soy chunks, chicken, seafoods and lamb and veggies as a first step. I will save little space in my tummy to drink dahl made with lentils or boiled beans like pinto/garbazon beans. We call it sundal in tamil. Everytime I walk around the grocery store or farmer’s market, I keep thinking about recipes that I can make which will fit everyone’s requirement in a meal. It is mandatory that the dish should be tasty for everyone; it should have a carb for my husband and kids; and low carb or no carb for me. I realized over the months that I get irritated and fall off the weightloss plan when I find that my husband doesn’t eat what I make and my family needs dishes that are just carb loaded. I must admit that I love carbs. No doubt about it and I will be eating it in moderations once I reach my target weight. But in the interim the stress to feed others derails me from the plan. So this time I feel well informed, well planned and well aware of what to cook, how to cook and importantly how to serve for each of them in the family.

Cilantro Chutney Dip_1

As I mentioned earlier, I bought two large heads of cauliflower; one in purple and other one is regular white one. I made cauliflower-soy subzi (fits SBD Phase 1 rules) with the white one. I pureed half of purple cauliflower to make a creamy salad with jicama and celery. I was introduced to jicama by my manager at work. She would crunch on jicama and baby carrots for snacks. I loved the taste and texture and decided to use it for the salad. This salad will be served in my next supperclub meal. It will be on 21Feb2014, Saturday in San Francisco. Details here.

 I served the other half as such along with other colorful veggies with a dip. During happy hours at work, there will also be platter full fresh raw vegetables along with other deep fried delights. I once tried raw sweet potatoes sticks, jicama and cauliflower with hummus and ranch dressing. They tasted healthy. Let me put it that way 🙂 That’s where I got the idea to serve fresh vegetables as an appetizer along with other fried or baked dishes in my parties.


Cilantro Chutney Dip_3

Recipe Idea: Self

For the cilantro dip

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida (available in Indian grocery store or go here to order it online)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup dessicated unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoon plus more balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Once hot, add the dry red chilies and sauté for a minute. Add the chopped cilantro and let it wilt. Sprinkle asafetida, almonds and coconut. Mix to combine. Grind them to a smooth paste adding balsamic vinegar and water.
  2. I like the flavor of balsamic vinegar so I added more. Please use your discretion and add accordingly. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a plastic cling wrap. Let it chill in the fridge until ready to eat.

For the vegetable platter


  • 1 bunch celery, cut into sticks
  • 2 carrots, cut into sticks
  • Cauliflower florets, 15-20
  • 1 Cucumber, cut into sticks

Serve the vegetables with the cilantro dip


Purple Cauliflower Salad

Recipe Source: Self

For the cauliflower puree


  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ head of purple cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • Water as needed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat butter/ghee in a saucepan. Let it melt and smoke. Add cumin seeds and let it roast. Throw in the cauliflower and sauté for couple of minutes.
  2. Pour vegetable stock and cover the saucepan.Let the cauliflower cook for 15 minutes. Switch off the flame and let it cool. Grind to a smooth paste by adding coconut milk. If needed, add water to bring them together. I kept the puree thick, smooth and not runny. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set them aside.

How to serve the salad?


  • 1 medium sized jicama
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 5 red chilies (fresh)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro dip (recipe above)

Assembling Directions

  1. Remove the skin of jicama and chop them in the desired shaped. Set aside.
  2. Slice the celery into small cubes and chop red chilies.  Set them aside.
  3. I used black ceramic bowls to serve them. Spoon the cauliflower puree (at room temperature) in to the center of the bowl and gently place jicama and celery over the puree. A spoon full of cilantro dip on top. Garnish with chopped red chilies.


  1. Both dishes can be eaten as snack/appetizer in South Beach Diet Phase 1
  2. This is definitely a healthy dish for women with gestational diabetes or for anyone who is diabetic or pre-diabetic
  3. These two dishes will make your party more healthy, classy and colorful

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  1. Hi Vijitha,

    what a wonderful recipe. I love purple cauliflower. Especially the cauliflower puree in combination with the coconut milk. I would like to use it as a side dish. Do you have any suggestions what goes with it? (Fish, meat etc.)
    Thanks in advance and happy cooking. Love, Steph

    • Steph – it will go really well with teriyaki salmon or chicken. I use it like how I will serve mash potato.

  2. Vijitha,
    I giggled when I read that raw sweet potato sticks tasted ‘healthy’! I’ve never actually tried to eat raw sweet potato, but when I was peeling and cubing some for a chili the other day the dogs were very interested. I gave them a few pieces to taste.
    Thank you for the recipes–purple cauliflower looks so pretty to me!

  3. I have never tried purple cauliflower but this recipe looks healthy and amazing and I love both cilantro and jicama! Will definitely try this one!

  4. the puree with jicama – such a vibrant dish! so many wonderful flavors in these recipes!

  5. That purple puree is so pretty. And I love using the raw purple cauliflower with the dip. I know “you eat with your eyes” is such a cliche but when food is this colorful it just seems more exciting and is probably better for you anyway. The cilantro dip sounds like it would be great spooned over some fish, chicken, pork tenderloin, skirt steak…anything, everything.

  6. Pingback: Roasted Purple Carrots Salad with South Indian Spices | Spices and Aroma | Indian food and cooking made quick and easy

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