This Aaloo Gobi is for me. I know, I know, that sounds terrible. But it is.
It is so hard to cook like someone else, but for people like me who grew up only eating their mothers cooking so much of our sense of what food ought to taste like comes from mama. The other day I had this sudden craving for Aaloo Gobi, but truth is I had never made it before and I have had several versions of it which I do not like very much. So I took a risk, called my mother and this is the recipe she gave me. And it works. Mama Jafri, bless her heart, isn’t necessarily the most accurate recipe relayer – often times when I would complain about how something didn’t turn out well she would say “oohhh… but if you wanted to make it really good then you should have…”
Like on what planet am I aiming to cook mediocre food?
Anyway, points to Mama J on this one.
The reason I say this one is for me is this: I cannot afford to lose it. And if I scribbled it down on a piece of paper somewhere then I most certainly would. Seemed best to put this Aaloo Gobi out in the internet-verse where others can have access to it as well.
Three Tips for the BEST Aaloo Gobi
This is such a simple recipe, but I find that there are three differences between great aaloo gobi and decent aaloo gobi.
1.) Great Aaloo Gobi is well seasoned.
Because the potatoes go in first and get that first round of steamed spice cooking they tend to absorb the flavours beautifully. When your cauliflower is done and you eat them together the cauliflower feels like a let down. The fix is simple – sprinkle your cauliflower with a little salt before adding it OR when you are adjusting seasoning at the end then taste a piece of potato and a piece of cauliflower together before making adjustments!
2.) Saute the moisture out of the masala.
In this Aaloo Gobi a good chunk of the flavour comes from the jamminess of cooked down tomatoes. To acheive optimal flavour you have to cook excess water out i.e. bhunn. As the water cooks out of the tomatoes the oil will rise above your masala mix and then you’re in business.
3.) Fresh is best
I use ginger and garlic paste most often with this dish, but for extra oomph there is nothing like fresh ginger and garlic!
Hope you enjoy this simple home style dish as much as we do! Do rate the recipe below!
If you are looking for some more vegetable dishes here are some of our favourites!
Potato and Cauliflower cooked in simple spices with tomatoes
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
- 3 cups potatoes diced into 2 cm pieces
- 2 cups cauliflower (half a small one)
- 2-3 chopped tomatoes
- 5-6 cloves garlic or 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp ginger paste of freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/3 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 3/4 tsp salt (minimum)
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 3 sliced green chilies (or adjust to taste)
- a squeeze of lemon juice
Heat oil in a saute pan and add the cumin seeds, cook for 30 seconds
Add your onions and cook on medium high heat till the edges start to turn golden
Reduce the heat a little and add the ginger and garlic
Saute for a 30 seconds and add the 3/4 tsp salt and spices. If they start to stick immediately add a small splash of water
Now in go your tomatoes, mix them with your spice base and cook on medium high heat stirring often until the excess water sautes out and you are left with a rich spice paste with oil rising above it (i..e bhunna)
Stir in your potatoes and cover the dish. Let them sit on medium high heat for a minute then turn the heat down and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes will break with mild pressure but are not totally soft.
Add the cauliflower, mix well and keep medium low heat until cooked through. This depends on how big your florets are. It usually takes me 15 minutes.
If at any point the veggies start to stick/burn add a tiny splash of water but not too much.
When the vegetables are cooked through taste a piece of cauliflower and potato together and adjust seasoning (I always add more salt at this stage)
Turn the stove off, top with the garnishes and cover for a minute or so to infuse aromas. Eat with chapati or naan.