Indian food is a combination of a lot of complex flavours and ingredients. Even the simplest recipe would have at least 10 things in it to be able to qualify as a dish. Every region has a different spice mix or a staple recipe for the same dish, making the cuisine so versatile and adaptable. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Indian food, and if somebody says they don’t… Well, they haven’t had the real Indian food then!
One such simple recipe with complex flavour combination is the popular Punjabi recipe of Aloo Gobhi. Aloo Gobhi or Alu Gobi is a simple dry curry of potatoes and cauliflowers sautéed with a combination of aromatic spices. Some use as little as 2-3 spice mixes and some uses as many as 7-10 spice combinations. My recipe of Aloo Gobhi falls somewhere in the middle where I have tried to keep the base simple with mild spices so the cauliflower could retain some of its own nature.
The most common spice powders that I always have in my kitchen pantry are turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin seeds, red chilli powder, and the garam masala. Either you can prepare these spices at home or buy from any good Indian grocery shop.
Every cook in India has their own version of Aloo Gobhi and here is my take on this classic recipe. Other than the above mentioned spice powders, I also love using Kitchen king masala, amchur powder (dry mango powder), hing (asafoetida) and the kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). They add the much talked ‘oomph’ factor to any Indian curries they touch, both in terms of flavour and aroma! The best example of use of these special spice mixes is shown in this recipe of Aloo Gobi/Alu Gobi. Simple, quick to make and absolutely delightful! I love it so much that I end up eating it on its own for most of the time. It’s so great to have it with just some chilled raita aside or simply wrapped in a chapatti roll for work.
Being a Punjabi recipe, it uses all the typical ingredients to prepare the masala base. Like onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies, tomatoes and garam masala. I try and keep the quantity of these things on a light side so not to overpower the two main ingredients i.e. potato and cauliflower.
Some people say that we need to use double the amount of oil when cooking cauliflower than other veggies. I however, disagree. I used the same amount of oil which I always use i.e. about 1- 1½ tbsp and it has always given me great results. The trick is to keep the lid covered at all times while cooking so the veggies get cooked with the steam built inside. This also helps in absorption of flavours deep within. Keep stirring in between to avoid any burnt or stuck pieces at the bottom.
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Serves: 3-4 people
Shelf Life: Best served fresh but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 1 month
Serving Suggestion: With any Indian flat breads or plain/flavoured Basmati rice + raita (yogurt dip) aside
Nutritional benefits:– Excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin B6. Good source of minerals and Omega-3 fatty acids. High in fibre and low in calories.
What you need?
- 2 large Potatoes (about 2 cups), scrubbed, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 medium Cauliflower (about 3-4 cups), cut into medium sized florets
- 1 medium Onion, finely chopped
- A small piece of ginger, grated or minced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large tomato, chopped small
- 2-3 Green Chillies, roughly chopped
- 2-3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
For Tempering (tadka):
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 1 ½ – 2 tbsp oil (I used mustard oil)
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds (jeera)
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder (haldi)
- ¾ tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust acc to taste)
- ½ tsp Coriander Powder (dhaniya)
- ½ tsp Garam Masala (Adjust acc to taste)
- ½ tsp dry mango powder (khatai/amchur)
- ½ tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri methi, optional but recommended)
How to make?
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and hing. When cumin seeds crackle and change colour, about 30 seconds, add minced garlic, ginger and green chillies. Fry for about a minute at low.
Next, add the chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes at medium. Add in chopped tomatoes, Kasuri methi leaves and all the other spices. Give it a good stir and cook further for about 3-5 minutes at low, till the tomatoes get mushy and the raw smell disappears.
Mix in cubed potatoes and give them a good stir, cooking covered for 3-4 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and salt to taste and stir them for 2-3 minutes, making sure every individual cauliflower florets is coated with the spice mix.
Cover the lid and let it cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring in between to make sure that vegetables don’t stick the bottom of the pan. By now the vegetables should have cooked through retaining their shape. If not, cover and let them cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Switch off the gas and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and mix them well before serving this delicious Aloo Gobi with any Indian flat breads (would taste amazing with Laccha paratha) or plain/flavoured Basmati rice.
The combination of spice powders used here are the ones I use often in any north Indian curries. You can use as little or as much of these spice combinations.
This Aloo Gobi is a versatile dish and many times I end up using them in wraps and sandwiches as a filling especially for a short trip.
You could omit the use of tomatoes from the dish if you like. This would also help in keeping the dish fresh for longer.
I like to keep the ginger bits a bit chunky rather than minced in my side dishes. You could also use ginger-garlic paste instead of the bits.
For the dry side dishes, I tend to use Mustard oil, coconut oil or groundnut oil. All of these have their own distinguishing taste which imparts a nice flavour to the dish.
Some more similar recipes you might like:
Lehsuni Gobhi – Cauliflower florets cooked with curry leaves and garlic
Paalak Alu– Mildly spiced potatoes cooked with spinach
Methi alu– No onion-garlic recipe made Jain style, with potatoes and fenugreek leaves
Bhindi alu– No onion garlic simple recipe for every day cooking