Aloo gobi, cauliflower with potatoes, is one of the most popular Indian dishes. Yet there are a gazillion variations of it. You can’t go wrong with aloo gobi. Just about everyone likes it. Even moviemaker Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) had a try at it. See the link at the bottom of the story.
My aloo gobi version is not yet Indian housewife approved. It is based on my sister-in-law’s excellent coaching and my very own desperate knack for convenience and “saving” dishes. I like to cook “all in one pot” and still be creative. Add mustard seed and hot chilies, you’ll get a southern flavor; spice it up with cumin and garam masala, definitely a northern note. Whatever you do, don’t add much water!
NOTE: My aloo gobi is a stir-fry-style recipe for a large wok or skillet. Be prepared and start about 60 minutes before mealtime. Here we go:
WASH & CUT VEGETABLES:
- ½ cauliflower, cut small rosettes/pieces
- 3 medium potatoes, small cubes (1 cm-1 inch)
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 onion, diced small
- 1 inch ginger, grated or chopped small
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
SEAR THE SPICES: heat
- 2 Tbs. vegetable or olive oil in large wok on high, don’t burn; add
- 2 Tbs. channa dal (= lentils) to fry for 3 minutes (optional for “bite” and texture)
- 1 tsp. mustard seed to crackle and
- 1 tsp. cumin (jeera) to crackle
- 3 dried hot chili peppers to sauté
NOTE: You could start off with the traditional onion/chili/ginger paste as a base. Adding freshly chopped Serrano peppers or red pepper flakes in the middle of the process works just as well. I prefer to use small ginger pieces as “bursts of flavor”.
STIR-FRY PHASE: Lower heat to medium and add
• cauliflower pieces (longest to cook) and sauté 10-15 minutes
• potato pieces, sauté for another 10 minutes
• onions and ginger for 5 minutes
• garlic paste (2 min)
• 1 tsp. (½ tsp.) turmeric (haldi); stir until evenly distributed (3 min)
• tomatoes, stir until they start getting mushy (5 min)
• ½ tsp. garam masala (optional), stir-fry for 1 minute
• 1 tsp. salt to liking
• ¼ cup water (or none)
Put the lid on the skillet/wok and let the aloo gobi simmer (ca. 15 min) so that the cauliflower is cooked but firm to the bite. Shuffle it once in a while. Taste for texture towards the end.
Let this cool off for 5 minutes and transfer to serving dish. Garnish your aloo gobi with chopped cilantro. Add a sprinkle of lemon. Bon appetite!
Movie link: Aloo gobi