Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Aloo Gobi: Cauliflower, Peas and Potatoes

A staple in most Indian restaurants, Aloo Gobi is an aromatic combination of spiced aloo (potato) and gobi (cauliflower), made even more popular with Gurinder Chadha's 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, a wonderful heart-warming comedy about bending the rules to reach your goal. The film follows two 18 year old girls who have their heart set on a future in professional soccer, as opposed to finding a nice Indian boyfriend, settling down and cooking the perfect chapatti. There is a quirky cooking segment at the end of the film where the director of the film, Gurinder Chadha, makes her recipe for Aloo Gobi with the help of her outrageously interfering mother and auntie. Ever since I saw that segment, I have wanted to make Aloo Gobi, and so this week I did, and it was absolutely delicious. With its rich texture, complex flavours and intoxicating aroma, this recipe for Aloo Gobi tastes as fabulous as it looks.

Aloo Gobi with Peas
Modified from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey 
Serves 4-6 

½ cauliflower head 
5 medium Yukon potatoes 
1/3 cup vegetable oil 
1/8 tsp asafoetida 
1 tbsp black mustard seeds 
10 kari leaves 
1 cup shelled peas (can use frozen) 
¼ tsp turmeric 
¼ tsp salt 
½ tsp sugar 
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped 

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, no larger than 1½”. Cut the potatoes in a ½” dice and soak in water, to stop them discolouring, if not using immediately. Warm the oil in a good size frying pan over medium. When hot, put in the asafoetida, then a second later the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, put in the kari leaves stirring once or twice. Now put in the potatoes, turmeric, salt and sugar and stir fry until the potatoes are lightly golden and brown but still quite firm, about 10 minutes. Then add the cauliflower and peas, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add ½ cup water and stir. As soon as the water starts to bubble, cover and turn the heat to med-low. Cook 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are just done. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and stir. Serve hot as a side dish with Grilled Chicken Tikka.

COOK'S NOTE: Asafoetida and Kari leaves are available in any Indian grocery store, however you could use onion powder instead of Asafoetida and bay leaves in lieu of kari leaves.