Pakistani Aloo Gobi Sabzi is a simple vegetarian curry made of potato and
cauliflower cooked in spices with tomatoes. This authentic Aloo Gobi
recipe is my mother’s, and it’s bold balanced flavours remind me why Aloo Gobi is such a classic dish.
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.
Most of my Pakistani recipes are if not hers, then inspired by her. I love the idea that through them I am continuing a version of my family's tastes and traditions.
My mothers Aloo Gobi is spicy, tangy with tomatoes, salted just right and with the mellow undertones of turmeric. It gets a hit of freshness from the lemon and cilantros at the end and smokiness from that little bit of pepper. With a hot chapati and some cold thick yoghurt there's nothing quite like it.
Sabzi Awards: best kinds of Veg for Aloo Gobi
I've experimented widely with the different varieties of tomatoes, potatoes, and onions available here and these are the ones that work best for Pakistani food.
- Best Onions for Pakistani Food: Yellow cooking onions. They have a milder flavor and cook down faster than red onions, but red onions work too.
- Best Potatoes for Pakistani Food: Yukon Gold or Yellow flesh, hands down. Their firm yet creamy texture holds up to and perfectly absorbs Pakistani spices and flavors. White potatoes aren't absorbent enough with an almost waxy textures while russet are more suitable for baked potatoes.
- Best Tomatoes for Pakistani Food: Roma tomatoes or Italian plum tomatoes are my favourite. They have a robust flavour closest to the always in season tomatoes in Pakistan. If those are unavailable then hothouse tomatoes work as they break down easily. However, they don't have quite the same richness of flavour (IMHO).
A Tip for making the quickest Aloo Gobi
For the longest time I would cook my potatoes for a while before adding the gobi in, but then I realized that this simple Pakistani Aloo Gobi recipe doesn't need that. Providing the cauliflower florets aren't kept large they cook in the same time as the petite potatoes.
Gobi Aloo Sabzi Ingredients
Fresh Main Ingredients
Red Chili Powder
How to Make Aloo Gobi
Simple sabzi, simple techniques. Let's do this.
Heat your oil in a pot, add cumin seeds, let them sizzle and then add your onions, frying them until the edges are golden. Then add your ginger and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
Now add your tomatoes and spices and mix well, sauteing on medium high heat until the oil rises to the top. Tip: covering the pot for 1-2 minutes with a tight fitting lid speeds up the process.
Now add your chopped cauliflower and potatoes, mix well, cover and cook on low until tender (25 minutes). Add a splash of water only if absolutely necessary.
Check your seasoning (salt) and adjust to taste. Now add the lemon juice, cilantro and green chilies and give it a quick mix. Garnish with more fresh cilantro if desired, enjoy!
Three Tips for the BEST Aloo Gobi Sabzi
This is such a simple recipe, but I find that there are three differences between great Pakistani Aloo Gobi and decent Aloo Gobi.
1.) Great Aloo 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 Paksistani Aloo Gobi Sabzi a good chunk of the flavour comes from the jamminess of cooked down tomatoes. To achieve 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!
If you are looking for some more Pakistani sabzi recipes then here are some of our favourites!
Hope you enjoy this simple home style dish as much as we do! Do rate the recipe below!
Pakistani Aloo Gobi Sabzi (Potato Cauliflower Curry)
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ 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
- ½ tsp ginger paste of freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ⅓ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ¾ tsp salt (minimum)
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 3 sliced green chilies (or adjust to taste)
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- a pinch of pepper (optional)
- 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 ¾ tsp salt. If it starts to stick immediately add a small splash of water
- Now in go your tomatoes and spice, mix them 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) tip: expedite this by covering the pot with a lid for a minute or two.
- Stir in your potatoes and then add the cauliflower on top. Mix gently and cook covered on low till both vegetables are tender - 20 to 25 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.
- I used to do two things differently: one is that I added spices to the onion base before adding the tomatoes. However, depending on heat levels masalas can burn easily which is why I switched it to adding with tomatoes. If you were comfortable with the first approach and heat levels then absolutely stick to it. The second change is that I now dice my potato a little smaller and add it with my gobi for convenience. I was starting to find that my potatoes would be done and my gobi wouldn't.