Oh, how I love Indian food. And I’ve been finding that the best way to learn about it, is to learn to cook it.  There are more styles and variations of Indian cuisine than I could hope to cover here, but I’m working on it!

I used to go to the local Indian market when I needed a curry fix, and everything I bought was pre-prepared, frozen or in pouches; I couldn’t identify many of the Hindi-named staple ingredients that the local Indian and Nepali people were buying.  I vowed that someday, I would be able to actually purchase ingredients and make a meal myself.  Indeed, as I cook more and learn more, when I visit that market, my basket is filled instead with flours, beans, spices and nuts that I can take home and whip into something delicious and fresh.

This is the first Indian dish I cooked at home, one of my favorites when dining out: Aloo Gobi, a dish of curried potato and cauliflower.  This Punjabi-style recipe is a “dry” curry; there isn’t much sauce.  Traditionally, it does not contain any tomato, and is served with bread (usually roti, a small flat whole-wheat bread).  I like to put in a tomato, and serve it with cumin-spiced basmati rice, mostly because I haven’t yet learned how to make roti and I don’t want to heat the whole oven just to warm a couple of pieces of frozen bread.  And isn’t everything better with tomatoes?

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • About 14 oz. of cauliflower florets (you can use frozen, if that’s easier)
  • 2 large or 4 small potatoes, diced large-ish
  • 1 small onion, diced or sliced, your preference
  • 1 tomato, diced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Half an inch of fresh peeled ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (you can substitute cayenne if needed)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Instructions:

  • Heat oil in a good-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add onions and cook until translucent.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Add all spices except garam masala, and the potatoes.  Stir well to mix the spices with the potatoes.
  • Add a little water (about 1/4 cup), cover, and cook until the potatoes are half-done.
  • Add the cauliflower, and tomato if you’re adding one, add a pinch of salt, and stir really well so that the cauliflower gets coated with spices too.
  • Re-cover, and cook until the cauliflower is soft.  Sprinkle with the garam masala and stir.  Serve with bread or rice, as you’d like.