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Alloooo Aloo Gobi!

September 23, 2009

Aloo gobi. Aloo gobi. Aloo gobi. Aloo gobi.

No matter which syllable, or syllables, I place the inflection on I can’t help but crinkle my lips into a smile every time I utter the name of this popular North Indian dish. And I must say I’ve been uttering these words more often in recent months.

A staple at Indian restaurants with the star ingredients being potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi), aloo gobi is fairly simple to make at home as well.

Don’t believe me? Well, I wouldn’t believe me either if not for Sangita who showed me how to make it from start to finish.

It does require some time and has quite a lengthy list of ingredients. But after a little chopping (enlist a sous chef or two) and a gathering of herbs and spices (be sure they’re all on hand and don’t skimp, please!), the ingredients can be combined in a pot and left to simmer until done.

With hardly any effort, you’ll have an authentic Indian dish ready to eat as is or as a side dish to accompany a meat or fish dish.

Aloo Gobi

This recipe is adapted from Sangita’s and although aloo gobi’s main ingredients are usually only potatoes and cauliflower, I threw in some carrots for color and sweetness.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 hour

3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound small yellow waxy potatoes like new potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 small bunch cilantro, separated into leaves and stems, and chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon coriander powder
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2-inch sliver fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and quartered
Salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon store-bought garam masla or make your own: ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the potatoes and fry until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. In the same pot, add the cauliflower and fry until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the bay leaves and cumin seeds. Fry until lightly toasted and fragrant, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Cumin seeds burn very quickly so pay attention! Add the onion followed by 1 teaspoon sugar and fry until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the cilantrooriander stems, chili flakes, cumin and coriander and fry for about 5 minutes, adding water if the paste sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add the ginger and garlic. Tumble in the potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and tomatoes. Mix well to coat vegetables with the spices. Add salt to taste, 1 teaspoon sugar and turmeric and continue to fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour in the water, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the vegetables are cooked and the curry sauce is almost dry, add the garam masala. Stir, taste and add more seasonings if desired. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve with naan or basmati rice.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2012 4:29 pm

    Just wanted to say that for making garam masala (which roughly translates into “hot spice mix”), your recipe calling for cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom is not accurate. Garam masala must have some sort of chili to it (lal mirch, in urdu/hindi, which means “red pepper,”), as well as black pepper (kali mirch). It’s also best if it has some ground coriander in it, but this is not near as important as red and black pepper. Otherwise, it’s simply a “masala,” which means “mix of spices.” It will not be “garam” (hot) at all.

    Also, your aloo gobi recipe calls for chili flakes. It is best to use fresh chilis, chopped or diced as finely as your preferences run. Dried chili flakes just do not produce the same flavor as fresh chilis.

    And to concur with Sidra’s comment, I very highly recommend the use of garlic and ginger pastes. The flavor is much more intense this way. Garlic and ginger are integral ingredients in most Pakistani/North Indian dishes. As for tomato sauce, I would recommend tomato PASTE, not sauce, if one has the need to substitute fresh tomatoes. Either way, it is a sacrifice in flavor to not use fresh tomatoes (I can always taste when tomato paste was used!).

    Last but not least, a note on cilantro: This is generally added as a very last thing, mostly as a garnish. If it is cooked, it shrivels up.

    • January 26, 2012 2:33 pm

      Hi! Thanks so much for your suggestions and for clarifying what truly is a “garam masala”. That’s interesting about the garlic and ginger pastes. I like using fresh garlic and ginger which I chop and mince on demand but I have noticed several Indian recipes which call for the pastes.

  2. December 21, 2009 5:21 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here: http://www.foodista.com/blogbook/submit

    Cheers,
    Melissa

    melissa@foodista.com
    Editor and Community Developer
    Foodista.com — The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

  3. Sidra permalink
    December 9, 2009 3:59 pm

    Just made this today. This is the first time I made Pakistani food and my mom was so happy when she came home from work and smelled the house. She said after 20 years, somebody is finally cooking for her, and she doesn’t have to think about what to cook after work :)

    In case anyone else wants to cook this, I will add some comments on how I made it.

    -Cutting up cauliflower, onions, carrots, and potatoes takes a long time, so reserve about 30mins for chopping alone.
    -A quarter of a potato is way too big. I cut them into 16ths (bite size). Red potato works also.
    -Instead of cutting up garlic and ginger, substitute ginger-garlic paste.
    -I used half an onion as I’m not a fan.
    -if you don’t have tomato, just throw in some tomato sauce. I used a 1/4 cup of Taco Bell Mild, tasted so good :)
    -In the 2nd para, it says, “In the same pot, add the cauliflower and fry until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.”
    but later it says to add in the cauliflower, so i think after the 2nd para it should say that the cauli needs to be removed.
    -in the ingredients, it says “cilantro stems”, but in description it says “coriander stems”. either way, both stems and leaves are not necessary. My mom says the leaves are just for garnish and stems aren’t used.

    Overall,for my first time making this food I am very happy at the result, and my parents (Pakistani) were very surprised and happy too so thanks for posting this.

    • December 12, 2009 1:07 pm

      Hi Sidra,

      Thanks for your feedback and I’m glad your parents enjoyed the dish! Cheers, Pat

  4. October 14, 2009 7:13 pm

    I can smell that on my screen. I love the combo of potato and cauliflowers… this recipe makes it very manageable. thank you!

    • October 29, 2009 11:41 am

      Hi Mel, It’s amazing how simple to make this dish is. Cooking Indian cuisine always used to be intimidating for me but I’m getting over it :).

  5. October 5, 2009 5:34 am

    Mmm, yum. One of my favorite Indian dishes and the first one I tried to make at home. Looks great!

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