I had a craving for Indian food last night, but didn't want to spend a lot of time or money preparing it. A quick look around the kitchen revealed that I had all the ingredients for this delicious vegetarian dish, one of my all time favorites!
Known as Aloo Gobi (which literally means potatoes [aloo] and cauliflower [gobi]) this dish is ubiquitous on buffet tables at Indian restaurants. This dish is fragrant and mildly spicy and the combination of potatoes and cauliflower is fantastic.
I have seen this dish prepared many ways, sometimes with tomatoes, sometimes with peas, but always delicious. This is Mama Ozzy's variation on the classic Indian dish. I make no claims as to its authenticity since I am certainly no expert on Indian cuisine, but it rings all my flavor bells and whistles, and that's all that matters. Some of the spices are unusual, but once you have them in your pantry they will last a very long time. Consider purchasing them as an investment in good eating.
In contrast to Chinese cooking where vegetables are stir fried over high heat for a short period of time, I like to slow cook this dish in butter to coax the natural sweetness out of each ingredient. Yes it takes longer, but the result is well worth it because each ingredient retains its individual flavor and has time to mingle with the exotic spice mix.
I like to use prepared tomato salsa in place of tomatoes in my aloo gobi. I find that Mexican spices and Indian go really well together. When you think about it, they are not really that different; tomato, jalapeno, onion, cumin, coriander... pretty similar. Since I always have plenty of salsa around the house, this saves a lot of time in peeling and and seeding tomatoes!
You can make this dish as spicy hot as you like. If you like it really hot, don't remove any seeds from the jalapeno pepper. If you like it medium hot use only half the seeds, and if you like it mild, remove all the seeds. Pretty easy!
I like this dish on it's own, with or without basmati rice, but it makes an excellent side dish to any grilled meat. Best of all, except for the butter, this is an incredibly healthy dish!
Potatoes, Cauliflower and Peas with Indian Spices (Aloo Gobi)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (seeds retained for HOT, removed for mild)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 lbs red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 lbs cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup prepared tomato salsa
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
steamed basmati rice (optional)
In a large heavy skillet with a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently until onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW TO BROWN!
Slowly saute the onions, garlic, ginger and jalapeno
Add garam masala, coriander, cumin, cardamom, turmeric and salt to onions and cook for 1 minute to infuse the butter. Add potatoes, cauliflower and salsa to pan and toss to coat evenly with spice mixture.
Stir potatoes and cauliflower into the spice mix to coat evenly
Cover the pan and slow cook the mixture on medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir the mixture, scraping any brown bits from the pan. Cover again and cook, covered, for ten minute intervals, stirring and scraping every 10 minutes until potatoes a very tender (40-50 minutes). If mixture appears to be sticking to pan, add 2 Tbsp water to pan to assist scraping browned bits from bottom of pan.
Once potatoes are very tender, remove from heat, and add peas, and stir. Cover and allow residual heat to cook peas for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot with basmati rice and a dollop Greek yogurt (if desired).