Cheap and Quick: Potato and Cauliflower

2013.Nov.22 Friday · 2 comments

in Food & Recipes

The things I find out when I start researching into dishes and ingredients sometimes scare me. I mean, just try plugging “potato” or “cauliflower” into the Urban Dictionary, or even just Google paired with “slang”… expressions, personal descriptors – some of them vulgar, gifts, and even sexual acts (really, that? why?). Seriously, you may not want to go there. Did you know that cauliflowers have a high fractal dimension? There are scientific papers on the subject. Or that they’ve been being written about since the 12th century? Or that they come in four different colors (white, orange, green, purple)? Let’s not even get into the potatoes, there have been whole books written on the varieties and uses. And there was that infamous spelling gaffe by ex-VP Dan Quayle….

Recently I posted up a picture of one of our favorite cheap and quick dinners, a bowl of aloo gobi (literally “potato cauliflower”) and enough folk asked about it that I figured I’d give you one of our step-by-steps. I make no claims to authenticity, a friend gave me a recipe so long ago I don’t even remember who it was – someone in college back in the 70s – and over time I’ve modified it to fit my tastes.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

1 onion, 1 cauliflower, a couple of potatoes (aim for roughly equal volume to the cauliflower), green chili(es), can of diced tomatoes (or fresh tomato, chopped up), can of chickpeas, ginger, garlic, teaspoon each of cumin and salt, two teaspoons each of turmeric and garam masala, bunch of cilantro and some olive oil (last two not pictured).

Garam masala – literally “hot spice mix”, the garam not meaning hot in the picante sense but in the intensity sense. You can buy it pre-made, I haven’t found one here that I like, so I follow Jill Norman’s recipe from her invaluable reference book, The Complete Book of Spices: dry toast 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 bay leaves, 40g cumin seeds, 25g coriander seeds, 20g cardamom seeds, 20g peppercorns, 15g cloves, 15g mace until they’re nice and aromatic – careful not to burn them – cool and then grind to a fine powder.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Chop the onion and saute it in a splash of olive oil with the salt and cumin seeds until it’s soft and translucent and starts to turn lightly golden.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Finely chop the garlic, ginger, chilies, and the cilantro (separate the stems and leaves and chop separately).

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Add the chopped cilantro stems and the turmeric and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Add the chilies and tomatoes and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Then the ginger and garlic and give it another minute or so.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Add the chopped up cauliflower, peeled and diced potatoes, and the chickpeas.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Stir well to coat the vegetables with the spice mixture.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Add a little water – for a big pot of this like this I usually add about a cup. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Check to make sure the vegetables are well cooked, add the cilantro leaves and the garam masala and adjust the seasoning if needed, I’ve never found it to be necessary at this point.

Aloo Gobi - step by step

Serve and eat. We’ll usually go through an entire pot of this for the two of us for lunch. Healthy, nutritious, delicious!

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