Aloo Gobi, one of my all time favorite vegetarian dishes, is probably a dish enjoyed universally throughout the entire Indian sub-continent. From North to South, East to West – this dish is delicious vegetarian comfort food eaten simply with Indian flatbreads & rice. Aloo Gobi is basically spicy stir-fried potatoes & cauliflower – that’s the Hindi/North Indian name for this dish where “aloo” means potato and cauliflower translates into “gobi”. In Maharashtra, we call it “Batata ani Flower chi Sukhi Bhaji”. This particular recipe is from my mom’s personal recipe collection & it has always been a household favorite.
Most recently, potatoes were given a bad rap as they are considered to be a high carbohydrate food full of starch. But did you know that potatoes are also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium & Vitamins B-6 and Vitamin C as well? Potatoes are also thought to contain certain blood pressure lowering properties. This humble vegetable may have had its origins in Peru, but it is one of the most commonly eaten vegetables throughout the world today!
Cauliflower is both very healthy & nutritious. It is high in dietary fiber, potassium, folate, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C & Vitamin K as well. This cruciferous vegetable is thought to benefit both cardiovascular & digestive health. Recent studies have also shown that cauliflower may help prevent many forms of cancer. It is also high in anti-oxidants & contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Kala masala (or goda masala) is the typical spice mixture used most commonly in Maharashtrian cuisine. It contains some hard to find ingredients and is usually not available in most Indian grocery stores. If you are lucky enough to have some kala masala on hand, by all means use it. Otherwise, garam masala is just fine.
SPICY STIR FRIED POTATO & CAULIFLOWER (Aloo Gobi, Maharashtrian Style)
1 small head of cauliflower (roughly 4-5 cups of florets)
2 medium potatoes, peeled & cubed
½” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
5-6 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
1 tsp kala masala (or you can add garam masala)
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
½ cup of freshly grated coconut (or you can unsweetened desiccated coconut)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large wok or deep skillet on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds & let them sizzle for about 30 seconds or so. Then add the green chilies, curry leaves & asafetida. Stir-fry for just a minute & then add the ginger. Stir for another minute & add the spices (turmeric, red chili powder, kala masala, salt & pepper). Stir well & let the spices cook for a few minutes before adding in the potatoes. Mix well – making sure all of the cauliflower florets are coated with the spices. Stir-fry for about 5-6 minutes before adding in the cauliflower florets. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients together. Now add about ¼ cup of water, cover, reduce the heat to low & let simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until both the potatoes & cauliflower are fully cooked & tender. This dish is more of a “dry” stir fry type, so if there is any cooking liquid remaining – just let the dish cook for another few minutes until all the liquid has evaporated. Lastly, add the grated coconut & carefully mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Garnish with the cilantro leaves & serve with warm chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to add a cup of frozen peas along with the cauliflower florets. You can also add some diced carrots, green peas, baby corn or add ½ cup of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
Instead of potatoes, you can make this dish using sweet potatoes or a combination of both types of potatoes.
To make a creamy version of this recipe, let the pan cool down for 5 minutes or so & then gently stir in ½ to 1 cup of sour cream or thick yogurt until desired consistency is reached. Season as needed & mix gently to combine. Garnish & serve as part of any delicious meal.
To make Kasoori Methi Aloo Gobi (Stir Fried Potato & Cauliflower with Dried Fenugreek Leaves), simply add 1½ to 2 heaping tbsp of Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) gently crushed in your palms along with the rest of spices & follow the directions as given above ☺.