Aloo Gobi - Cumin-spiked potatoes and cauliflower

Cauliflower is a vegetable that needs a little love to really shine and this recipe is a great example. It takes a few simple ingredients and turns them into a delicious medley of flavours and textures. I like to serve it with rotis and some cucumber raita, but it tastes just as good with rice. Some daal on the side doesn’t go amiss either! It’s also a great example of a delicious and nutritious dish that costs very little, seeing as its made from a bunch of pantry staples.

Aloo Gobi

1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cm piece ginger, peeled and smashed
1.5 teaspoon ghee or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 dried red chilli
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon  ground chilli (optional)
3/4 teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2 cup water
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)

Heat the ghee or oil in a large nonstick pan or wok on medium heat. Once it’s warm, add the cumin seeds and allow them to gently splutter, about 30 seconds. Add the dried chilli and after about 10 seconds, add the onions. Stir together and cook for about 2 minutes, until the onions just start softening. Add the ginger and garlic and stir again. Once the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant, add the cauliflower and stir together. About 3 minutes later, add the potatoes and stir to combine. Allow the vegetables to cook together for about 2 - 3 minutes, then add the turmeric, chilli and cumin. Mix together well to combine. After 5 minutes, add the water and salt to taste, give everything a good stir and then cover with a lid, lowering the heat. Cook for about 20 - 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that nothing sticks to the pan or gets burnt. I like my vegetables cooked to a buttery consistency, but if you like them with more bite then you’ll need to cook them for a shorter period of time. Once they’re done to your liking, check for salt, stir through and turn off the heat. I like to let everything sit in the pan for a few minutes to allow the flavours to really settle in. Turn out into a bowl and serve hot with rotis or rice and some raita on the side.

Cucumber Raita

1/2 cucumber, peeled and coarsely grated or chopped fine
1/4 - 1/2 cup natural yoghurt, depending on the consistency you prefer
a pinch of salt to taste (optional)
a few mint or coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish (optional)

I prefer grating the cucumber because I like the way it combines with the yoghurt. If you’re also grating, press the grated cucumber out gently to remove any water it may have released and discard (or drink!). In a bowl, combine the yoghurt and the cucumber, add salt to taste if needed. Garnish with the mint or coriander and serve immediately.

Serves 4 - 6 as a side and 2 - 3 as a main.
Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 35 - 45 minutes

Photography: Vatsala Murthy

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