Aloo Gobi is a classic Indian recipe, and one of the easiest to pick up for total Indian cooking novices. It’s also where I was first introduced to Indian cooking, so I think it serves as a good starter here, too. I considered starting with the simple stir-fry noodles, but that seems to be aiming a little low. If you can’t do noodles, stir-fry or otherwise, please find your way around a kitchen before attempting the following.
Pardon the terrible pictures. My phone camera really isn’t up to the task…
Indian cooking tends to be very open to interpretation when it comes to amounts, so I’m going to give some rough estimates here.
- Cauliflower – Half can typically feed two or three people as a main, or four to five people as a side. I’ll use half, as it’s easily available from the supermarket, wrapped in plastic & ready to last longer.
- Potatoes – dependent on how large the potatoes are, how many people there are, and how much of a fan of potatoes you are. I’ve used two average sized potatoes, diced. I aim for a roughly even amount in visual terms:
The best potatoes to use for Indian cooking is Desiree – they’re pinkish and dirtless, readily available from your local supermarket.
- Cooking oil – take your pick. Canola, Sunflower or Olive oil work well. Keep the bottle on hand.
- Spices –
- Haldi (Tumeric) – for colour, approx half a tea spoon. We’re going for a nice yellow-brown colour.
- Salt – about 1 and a 1/2 to 2 tea spoons
- Garam Masala – a mix of spices, lit. “Hot Spice”, available from all good Indian shops and maybe even your local supermarket – it’s one of the basics of Indian cooking. About 1 tea spoon.
- Lal Mirch (Red Chilli) – powdered form, about 1/2 to 1 tea spoon, to taste. Not strictly necessary, but it gives it that little bit of zing, I think.
- Podhina (Coriander) – powdered, about 1/2 to 1 tea spoon, to taste. I’m not sure what it does to the taste in the end, but it’s in there. Similarly available from Indian stores or supermarkets if you look hard enough.
Again, spices tend to make the cooking, so these items will probably be the hardest for you to find. If stuck at all, let me know and I’ll try to find out what the closest Indian store is to you. I’ve also added some seeds I know not the name of (in either language), but they taste good. You’re going to have to ask my mum for those.
- Ginger, chopped – can also use frozen & preprocessed one that I do. About 1 tea spoon of the processed stuff, or about 20g of the chopped stuff, though that’s really a guess. If you think I sound vague about this, it’s because I really am – it’s never actually quantified, and the amount you use is entirely to taste.
- A wok or saucepan with a lid.
- Half an hour to 45 minutes.
- After removing the leaves from the cauliflower, break it into little ‘florets’. Best done by hand, but judicious use of the knife may be necessary to break off some of the bigger bits. Try to remove as much of the “stem” as possible.
- Peel the potatoes & dice them into approx. 1.5cm to 2cm sided cubes, but there’s no stress on getting it as cubes – I tend to have little wedges, if anything.
- Wash both the cauliflower & potatoes, although keep them seperate if you want consistent cooking
- Prepare the wok by putting in roughly 1 ~ 2 table spoons of the oil in with the ginger. This should start heating up quickly, so add the spices in here. This should get bubbling along very quickly.
- Add the cauliflower and mix around with the spices, getting a good even coating of the spices. Let the cauliflower cook on high heat for about a minute.
- Add the potatoes and stir well. Aim to get the potatoes well mixed in and coated with the spices.
You can perhaps splash a little bit of oil in at this point if things are looking a little dry – we should still have some oil to ensure the potatoes get cooked well.
- Keep stirring on high heat for a minute or two until things look well mixed. Lower the heat, and put on the wok lid. This is important because if you keep stirring it won’t really cook, and the lid lets all the spices mix very well and evenly with the potatoes & cauliflower.
- Return roughly every 2 to 5 minutes to stir things along and ensure things don’t get burnt on one side. It should be looking distinctly yellow at this point, and when most of the oil looks like it’s gone, splash a little water on to soften things up a bit before covering again.
- When the potatoes are soft enough to split easily with your spatula and the cauliflower is similarly soft, turn the heat right down. Leave it like this for a little while longer – don’t get lost watching the last 10 minutes of the footy like I did.
- Remove from wok and serve hot with chappati/roti or naan.
Next week: Lobia (Black-eyed beans) with Basmati Rice