Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes (Aloo Gobi) is a classic Northern Indian dish. The name is a literal translation of the ingredients with “aloo” meaning potato and “gobi” meaning cauliflower. This combination is perfect as part of a vegetarian, vegan or meat meal. And if you just want to add a little spice to an otherwise plain piece of broiled or baked meat or fish, this is just the dish to kick things up a notch. It makes wonderful left-overs too.
Don’t be put off by the list of spices. This is an easy dish to prepare, and uses the classic spices that would be on hand in any kitchen that enjoys either Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine. And you can be in control of the heat, making the curried cauliflower and potatoes (aloo gobi) as spicy – or not – as you like. I do strongly encourage you to grind your own spices. I can’t emphasize enough the difference it will make in your cooking. Using a spice or coffee grinder, this only adds seconds to your prep time, but will immediately transform you into a better cook.
This recipe dates back to a May, 1980 Bon Appetit article on the cuisine of northern India. The chef is Paul Bhalla and his recipes do take some preparation, but they are all well worth the effort. Unfortunately, I have not been successful in finding any of his recipes online….
For a few ideas of putting together a complete Indian meal check out these links.
Yield: About 6 to 8 servings, as part of a complete dinner
About 6 Tablespoons of margarine or vegetable oil
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5-inch cubes (I used red potatoes but Yukon Gold would also be nice)
1 teaspoon black or white whole mustard seeds
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (this makes the dish mildly spicy)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of asfetida (Optional, but I have it so add it. Asfetida has a unique flavor and is worth getting if you do Indian cooking)
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons slivered fresh ginger root
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
About 3 pounds of cauliflower, broken into florets (You can include some tender green leaves if you like. I did not.)
Coarsely chopped parsley or cilantro
Melt the margarine (or heat the oil) in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and saute just until lightly browned. Remove the potatoes to a bowl and set aside.
Return the oil to hot and add the mustard seeds, shaking the pan until they begin to pop. This only takes about 30 seconds. Add the onion and brown lightly. Reduce the heat and add the dry spices and blend well with the onion.
Add the tomatoes, cilantro, ginger, jalapenos (if used) and salt. If your tomatoes are not particularly juicy, you will want to add about 2 Tablespoons of water so things don’t become too dry. Now add the cauliflower and potatoes, and turn them to coat well with the spices.
Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and cook for about 15 minutes. You want the vegetables to be firm but tender. Garnish when ready to serve.