Add some spice and colour to your meal rotation with this recipe for Aloo Gobi. It’s made with potatoes and cauliflower and can be served as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish. You can make it as hot or mild as you like so it appeals to anyone’s taste.
The inspiration for this recipe is from Cook with Manali. She has some fantastic authentic Indian recipes and I can’t wait to try more. There are some ingredients in many of her recipes that may not be sitting in your pantry or even readily available in local grocery stores so I’ve created a friendly version of Aloo Gobi so you can give it a shot before ordering exotic spices from the other side of the planet! Seriously though, many international spices can be easily found and if not, can be ordered online in small quantities. Try Amazon or Etsy where you’ll be able to see reviews and customer feedback before ordering.
What is Aloo Gobi?
Aloo Gobi is popular in India and Pakistan, named exactly for its ingredients. Aloo means potato and Gobi translates to cauliflower. Add some fragrant spices and colourful turmeric and you’ve got yourself an authentic South Asian recipe. And, best of all, turmeric is said to have some health benefits too so it’s a win, win, win!
My previous attempts making Aloo Gobi were a little disappointing because the potatoes were still hard even after cooking quite a while. Manali’s suggestion of pre boiling the vegetables helped this dish turn out perfectly. Through trial and error I came up with 7 minutes of pre boiling potatoes then adding the cauliflower to the potatoes for 3 minutes so they have the right consistency and one vegetable isn’t cooked more than the other.
You want about a 50:50 ratio of potatoes to cauliflower. Here in Norfolk County, Ontario’s Garden, the cauliflower can be as big as a large bowling ball so keep that in mind when you’re deciding how much cauliflower to use in the recipe. You also want to keep your potato chunks relatively the same size as your cauliflower pieces. You could cut them smaller so they take the same time to cook as the cauliflower but I like them to be similar bite sized pieces.
Toasting spices really brings out their flavour so adding them to the hot oil in a hot pan before adding the drained cauliflower and potato mixture is an important step so you get maximum flavour. As well, frying the partially cooked potatoes and cauliflower gets a little caramelization going which is also a flavour builder.
Does Aloo Gobi have a sauce?
There are some tomatoes in Aloo Gobi but it’s not a sauce. The tomatoes add the moisture content that prevents the dish from being too dry. Using grape or mini San Marzano tomatoes are my preference because they typically have more flavour than regular tomatoes, especially when tomatoes aren’t in season. But because they have a lower water content than larger tomatoes, add a few tablespoons of water, just so the vegetables don’t get too dry and stick to the pan.
There are a number of spices in this recipe but you still need salt. Salting the water you pre cook the veggies in as well as salting them while they’re being fried will make sure the dish absorbs enough. Always taste as you go.
Once all the spices and vegetables have been toasted and cooked together, add lots (and lots!) of cilantro and let it cook, covered for the last few minutes to make sure all the flavours incorporate. And save some cilantro to add as a garnish before serving.
This recipe for Aloo Gobi will make enough for 2 people to enjoy as a vegetarian main dish or about 4 servings as a side dish. Your kitchen will smell wonderful too!
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 potatoes medium to large, depends on size of cauliflower
- ½ cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 2-3 tsp vegetable oil start with 2, add more if needed
- 1 chunk ginger size of a thumb
- 2 cloves garlic or more if cloves are small
- 1 cup chopped grape or mini San Marzano tomates
- 2 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper use more for a spicier dish
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- large handful chopped cilantro save some for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and chop potatoes. Clean and cut cauliflower into similar sized pieces as potatoes.
- Cook potato chunks in salted boiling water for 7 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook 3 more minutes. Drain well and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Drain well.
- Chop onion. Peel and mince garlic and ginger.
- Heat oil in large skillet to medium. Add cumin seeds and fry until starting to crackle. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic and ginger, continue to cook until fragrant but not darkening.
- Add turmeric, cayenne, garam masala and cumin. Fry for a few minutes to bring out the flavours. Add more oil if needed, if too dry. You want it to be more like a paste.
- Add drained potatoes and cauliflower, turn heat up slightly and stir fry for a few minutes until starting to get some colour.
- Chop tomatoes. Add to pan, along with some water, just enough so the dish isn't too dry. Stir well. Add chopped cilantro, cover with lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 5-7 minutes, tasting and adding more salt as needed, until vegetables are fork tender but not mushy.
- Serve hot and garnish with more fresh cilantro if desired.