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Aloo Gobi recipe:

 At the Cats' House, we made a traditional Indian dish made of gently sautéed cauliflower and potatoes tossed in a fragrant marriage of ginger and spices called Aloo Gobi (aloo = potato, gobi=cauliflower).  This delicious dish is one of the simplest of all Indian dishes and one of the first I ever learned how to make as a young girl.  It was and still remains one of the staple dishes at my family's house.  It is also quite light as it is mostly steamed and only a small amount of oil is used to roast the spices and ginger, making it intentionally dry and somewhat crispy. It is a quintessential Punjabi specialty cooked often in the winter when cauliflower is in season. It's also the dish immortalized by the cranky aunty in Gurindar Chaddha’s film, "Bend it Like Beckham." 
Aloo Gobi recipe

You will need:

  1. 1 large cauliflower or 2 smallish cauliflowers, cut into large florets.  When a cauliflower is as big as a cantaloupe and weighs two pounds, it's big.  When it is the size of a grapefruit, weighing just a pound, it is a small cauliflower.  To provide a healthy serving for four adults, use two small cauliflowers or 1 big one.  
  2. 3 medium size potatoes, peeled, halved and then cut again into quarters.  Each potato should give you 8 generous wedges.  My favorite potatoes to use are Yukon gold with their buttery color and texture, but red potatoes or new white potatoes work fine too. New white potatoes tend to be small, so then i would use 4 if they are small.  I like potatoes to be peeled and quartered, but some people prefer to leave the skin on and that is just fine.  Whatever floats your boat.
  3. A good amount of fresh ginger, I'd say the length of two fingers, or about 3 inches long. Ginger should be peeled and cut very fine, or chopped in a food processor or even grated. My mother likes to put the ginger in Aloo Gobhi in big chunks but I always found that to be overwhelming when eating.  You'd get a big chunk of ginger in your mouth and its like a little bomb when you bite into it.
  4. 1 teaspoon ground coriander powder.
  5. 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds.
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder or cayenne pepper or black pepper, whatever your pleasure, depending on your heat tolerance. Those that like it hot can skip the dry pepper altogether and opt for a small fresh green chili or 1/2 a jalapeno pepper.  (If using fresh chili, fry along with the ginger)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon salt, depending on taste.  I always start with a 1/2 teaspoon but usually end up adding a bit more towards the end when I find I can't quite taste the salt once the cauliflower is well coated. 
  9. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder, added at the very end before garnishing with cilantro.
  10. 1 1/2 tablespoon oil.  I like to use sesame oil in this recipe, but canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, ghee or even butter work just as well.
  11. A generous handful of fresh cilantro for garnish

First select a good, heavy, generous large pot with a lid.  Non-stick pots are great.  The key to making perfect Aloo Gobhi is the steam so you want a pot that has a good tight fit with its lid.   You also want enough room to stir up the cauliflower & potatoes to coat them well, so do yourself a favor and don't choose a pot that make it hard to stir all the ingredients without cauliflower florets flying out.  Consider a pot like one you'd boil water for pasta in, or a heavy steel pot, or even a heavy wok. 

In your pot, first pour your 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of oil, or ghee, or butter, whatever you've decided to use, and allow it to get nice and hot by putting your heat to medium/low. 

Add spices to the hot oil in this precise order:  First, add 1/2 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds.  Second, add 1/2 teaspoon tumeric.

third add 1 teaspoon of ground coriander powder to hot oil.  Stir all three ingredients well with a heat resistant rubber spatula. They should start to sizzle,  gently stir-fry until they begin to turn golden, approx. 1-2 minutes. Stir them and in just a minute or two they will become fragrant and roasty toasty brown.  After the cumin seeds start to brown, turn heat down to low and put in your finely chopped ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder or cayenne or black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Saute until the ginger gets a nice yellowy color.   I prefer a heat resistant rubber spatula when making Aloo Gobhi to a wooden spoon for all this sauteing of the spices for this dish since a wooden spoon can often suck up the oil and spices into the spoon.  Heat resistant rubber doesn't do this. Continue stirring making sure nothing burns.  Saute ginger and spices 3-4 minutes on medium low heat. 

Toss in your peeled and quartered potatoes, and coat thoroughly with the spice/ginger blend in your pot.  Add a splash of water (1-2 tablespoons) after coating potatoes and turn heat up to medium high and cover pot with lid. Give mixture a good shake by vigorously jarring around or tossing pot while holding lid on firmly.  Leave it on medium heat for 7-8 minutes, try to resist opening lid & losing steam. If you feel compelled to stir it, stir by holding lid on firmly and jarring pot to shake mixture around.

After cooking the potatoes for about 7-8 minutes add your cauliflower florets.  It’s very important to add the cauliflower when the potatoes are almost fully cooked or they’ll be underdone by the time the cauliflower is cooked through.  Cauliflower only takes 6-7 minutes to fully cook and still be firm, but potatoes take about 12-14 minutes to fully cook through.  When mixing try to combine the mixture gently to maintain the integrity of the shape of the cauliflower florets and potato wedges.  Don't hack at it, it won't come out as pretty!

Stir the cauliflower very well so they start to get nicely coated with the yellowy spice and ginger mixture.  Once you've stirred the cauliflower potato mixture really well, return the lid and cook on medium high 6-7 minutes more with lid on, allowing steam to build up.  Again, When mixing try to combine the mixture gently to maintain the integrity of the shape of the cauliflower florets and potato wedges.

Stir mixture after 5 minutes making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Taste spoon you are using.  if you think it could use a bit more salt, now is the time to add up to a half teaspoon more salt if you like.  Stir well again and return to heat with lid on for another 4 minutes on medium high.

Turn heat to low.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala powder now.  Stir mixture very gently to coat again, be careful not to break florets or potato wedges.

Remove one piece of potato and see if it easily breaks in half with a fork. If it does, the dish is done, if it doesn't, replace lid and saute on low for another 2-3 minutes.  

Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and serve with hot homemade rotis or parantas.

 
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