Cardamom is my favorite spice of all time. It is equally at home in curry as it is in a coffee cake. But ground cardamom is not always of the highest quality. If you have the choice, buy whole cardamom pods, either green or black. To use, open the outer hull, remove the seeds and crush them in a mortar coffee mill.
1 tablespoon coconut oil, ghee, or butter
4 large cardamom pods, seeded and crushed
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cinnamon stick
3 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ head of cauliflower, separated into small flowerets (about 2 cups)
1 cup lentils
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 can chickpeas, with liquid
1 teaspoon unrefined salt – try Moroccan, Arabian Fleur de Sel, Kala Namak, or a salt infused with curry or cardamom
1 cup paneer or plain yogurt
- In a large saucepan, heat coconut oil. Add cardamom, cumin and cinnamon, and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat, add scallions, garlic and cook until tender. Stir in garam masala.
- Add the cauliflower and cook 3-5 minutes stirring to coat with spices. Add lentils, broth and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes. Add chickpeas and their liquid, and cook until warmed through. Season with more salt as needed.
- Fish out the cinnamon stick and serve over rice, topped another pinch of salt, a dollop of paneer or yogurt, and a side of cucumber pickles or raita.