Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aloo Gobi: Indian Cauliflower, Spuds & Peas

A staple in most Indian restaurants, Aloo Gobi is an aromatic combination of spiced potato (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi), 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 personal recipe for Aloo Gobi with the help of her outrageously interfering mother and auntie. Ever since I saw that segment, I can never make this dish without smiling. With its rich texture, complex flavours and intoxicating aroma, this recipe for Aloo Gobi tastes as fabulous as it looks. You can even omit the potato for a carb-free vegetarian feast.

Asafoetida, mustard seeds and kari leaves are briefly sautéed in oil until the seeds begin to pop, then the diced potatoes are added 

Cauliflower florets and peas are added to the spiced potato mixture and cooked until tender

Aloo Gobi with Cauliflower, Potatoes & Peas
Serves 4-6 

1/2 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 frozen peas
1/4 tsp turmeric 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp sugar 

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, no larger than 1 1/2-inches. Cut the potatoes in a 1/2-inch 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 1/2 cup of water and stir. As soon as the water starts to bubble, cover and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are just done.