It’s nice and sunny outside; fluffy white clouds against the loveliest of blue skies pass me by. As I sit inside my room savouring the sight, the fragrance of fresh food wafts in from the kitchen. Well, of coriander sitting atop aloo gobi in fact!
So what if I never could bend it like Beckham, at least I got the aloo gobi right. If I were Jes, mummyji would be very proud, even if I say so myself. Like a good Punjabi girl I have mastered the art of making this Punjabi staple, even if it was after I got married!
The funny thing is, however, I never liked the dish, unless it was served greasy and steeped in masalas at a typical Delhi wedding. My health conscious mum never shared my fascination for the oily variety and made sure we ate the vegetable dish with all the goodies intact. Dad would wolf it down, but I would look askance. Only to have granny chime in to say, “Eat it like a medicine!” which, by the way, was her refrain about ALL vegetables I refused to ingest!
Anyhow. Cut to the present. One dreary winter afternoon I was sitting by myself at home, craving for the taste of something that instilled happy memories. All I had with me were potatoes and cauliflower. Determined not to let that bog me down, I decided to conduct an experiment on the two striking a compromise between the grease monster and the healthy yet boring alternative. And I was not disappointed. So to you I bring that version.
The following makes for 4 servings.
a) Cauliflower: One head
b) Potatoes: Equivalent to the amount of cauliflower
c) Onion: One, large
d) Tomato: One
e) Ginger-garlic paste/fresh ginger and garlic: One and a half tbsp/finely chopped
f) Jeera (Cumin seeds): One tsp
g) Mustard seeds: a few
h) Turmeric: One tsp
i) Coriander powder: One-and-a-half tsp
j) Red chilli powder: To taste
k) Garam Masala*: To taste
l) Salt: To taste
m) Curd: half a cup
n) Lime juice: Of half a lime
o) Oil: One tbsp
p) Fresh coriander leaves: to garnish with
a) Boil the vegetables till al dente (not overcooked but not too hard either)
b) Heat oil, sizzle the jeera, splutter the mustard
c) Add the chopped onion and fry till golden brown
d) Add ginger-garlic paste or fresh ginger and garlic
e) Fry a bit
f) Add turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder and cook till the raw masala smell disappears
g) Add the chopped tomato and cook till it grows mushy
h) Add the boiled veggies in and stir well to mix with the dry gravy (I know, quite an oxymoron!)
i) Cook the concoction till the vegetables are softer than eldente and then add the dahi and a bit of garam masala.
j) Make sure that you are cooking on low heat when u do this so as not to curdle the dhai
k) One cooked add the lime juice and stir well to mix
l) Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (I also added some right after putting the lime juice in and let them to cook along with the dish for a few seconds)
*I don’t usually use garam masala in my cooking, but in this case I would recommend adding a bit of it to give the dish a certain zing. But make sure you don’t put too much lest it tastes only of the masala and little else.
Before I leave you, here is a bit o’ aloo and gobi tid-bits to chew on.
- I am told that cauliflower holds a special place in its botanical family since it is the only member that has those little flowerets that we eat. Its cousins cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli produce leafy greens.
- There exist orange and purple coloured cauliflowers!
- Mark Twain called cauliflower “nothing but cabbage with a college education”.
- The potatoes I used in my dish were tiny new potatoes, which worked quite well! 😀