Just thought I’d write a bit about my take on this wonderful dish which not only can you eat as a side dish but you can also eat as a main course it’s that tasty.
For those of you who have never tried this dish or have never heard about it let me enlighten you.
ALOO is basically the South Indian term for Potatoes
GOBI is basically the term for Cauliflower.
Put these together with some spices and there you have it ALOO GOBI.
But what spices do you need and how do you cook it and what should it look like . Well traditionally you use the turmeric to add the rich yellow colouring to the dish garlic ,ginger onions a mix of masala style spices and cook it all up together depending on the amount of heat you like you can add fresh chillies or just chilli powder and again depending on how you like to eat cauliflower some people prefer to eat it slightly harder (my preference also ) or mushy or just cooked through.
There is no standard way to cook it as a lot of chefs have a preference to certain spices and others to cost of the produce they use.
This is how I would prepare and cook it.
- Half a good sized Cauliflower make sure you cut this up into small florets.
- 1 large or 2 Medium sized Potatoes Peeled and sliced or diced
- 1 medium sized Onion Chopped smallish
- 2 small carrots diced
- 2 Medium Tomatoes chopped small or half a tin of ready chopped tomatoes but these need to be drained.
- 1 Thumb Sized piece of Fresh Root Ginger finely grated
- 3 Cloves of Garlic also finely grated
- 1 Teaspoon or a good Pinch Cumin Seeds
- Half a teaspoon of Turmeric
- 1 Teaspoon of Ground Corriander
- 1Teaspoon of Garam Masala you can use any mixed blend such as Jalfrezi mix or Balchao Mix or even make your own up combining spices like mustard seeds ,Cumin,Peppercorns Chilli flakes or powder very easy to do and can give you some different tastes but I stick to Garam Masala.
- Pinch of Salt
- Couple of grinds of Pepper
- Olive Oil to cook about 3 desert spoons you don’t need much.
- Fresh Coriander if you want to add a bit of colour and freshness at the end.
So firstly you need to have 2 Frying Pans with at least 1 lid . 1 for your initial frying of the Cauliflower and Potatoes and Carrots yep frying and the other to prepare the sauce / masala mix.
Now if you would rather boil your Cauliflower, Potatoes and Carrots then there’s absolutely no problem doing this BUT you must not overcook them unless you want a mushy result ! Obviously when you boil the cauliflower and potatoes there will be a lot of excess water which will not be great when serving your dish. That’s why I prefer to fry and then cover.
So place about half of the oil into a medium heat frying pan and wait for this to get to temperature and then add your cauliflower.swirl the cauliflower around the pan so the oil will cover the florets and give them a few minutes to start to turn colour .You may find that a few pieces go brown .Add the potatoes and carrots and then do the same trying to get some oil on them where possible. Once you think there fairly well covered with even just a bit of the oil then let them fry away for about 10 minutes just make sure they are not overcooking you may need to turn the heat down.
Right while they are cooking away lets get the heat on the other pan and add the other half of the oil . Let this get hot then slightly reduce the heat and add the cumin seeds. These should start to sizzle in a couple minutes. When they do then add the onions into the pan giving these a few minutes to change colour and go slightly transparent then add the garlic and ginger.
So its all cooking away nicely lets add the tomatoes into the mix.Let these break down a little and any excess water evaporate especially if you’ve decided to use the canned chopped tomatoes. When it all looks a bit mushy and not dried out totally then add you spices. You can now leave these for a couple of minutes and cover them up.If you find that there is not enough moisture then just add a little water just to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan and burning.
So you now have a lovely mix of spices onions garlic ginger etc all you have to do now is add the mixture to the potatoes and cauliflower or vice versa and give it all a good stir while keeping the pan on heat.This is where it’s up to you how well cooked you want the dish .Keep testing the cauliflower and potatoes with a fork as you may find the potatoes may be raw or cauliflower which is the last way you want to serve the dish.You can also add the salt and pepper to season it at this stage.
The only thing left to do is to add your fresh coriander. You can either add this to the pan and mix it in so that it adds to the flavour of the dish whilst cooking towards the end or just place some on top on the serving dish just before you serve as a garnish.
If you fancy making a meal out of this dish you can use a whole tin of chopped tomatoes whilst making the sauce /masala add half a cube of chicken stock or beef depending on what you want to add and then keep tasting the dish if the sauce becomes a bit to sour add some honey a teaspoon at a time to balance the dish and once you have mixed the sauce up add your chicken or beef (ideally part cooked and then just keep it on a low heat until the meat or chicken is tender.
I hope you thoroughly enjoy this recipe as I have and also don’t forget to try different spice mixes .The Balchao mix although takes a little time to grind gives a lovely warm taste to this dish.