I eschew trends, fads, crazes, popularity and buzz. But as always, exceptions occur. Such is the case with this recipe. After watching the sensation movie "Bend It Like Beckham" on DVD there's a bonus track of the director making a traditional dish, Aloo Gobi with her aged auntie and mum. Very endearing. You can Google the recipe, but I'll put it here, not verbatim but as I now do it.
The dish is very very basic and there's nothing to fear where the words Indian and Curry come together. As a Weight Watchers participant, this became an almost weekly menu rotation. Its like the best Vegan recipe ever, not just low on Points+ but also cause I love flavor, spice and everything nice. Plus I get to add some Thai bird chilies to something. Nowadays, not as strict on WW as I was, I like to garnish this with a dollop of dairy, either Greek yogurt, Daisy sour cream, or just a plain ol slice of sharp cheddar cheese -very complimentary. A little Sriracha never hurts either (which I have loved for 35 years, long before the Internet, so no trend follower me) I also on occasion add some cubed chicken breast for a dosage of animal protein, but it is certainly not missed when without.
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ~1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped cilantro stems (save some leafs for garnish)
- optional: bit of fresh ginger
- fresh garlic to taste, chopped
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons salt2-3 Thai bird chilies, whole (so they heat can be plucked)
- 1 average size head cauliflower broken into florets (Romanesca works too, as in photo)
- 3 medium red, white, or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into about in 1/4" disks, halve larger slices
- 1 28 oz (or 2 14.5 oz) can of diced or stewed tomatoes with juice or whole tomatoes crushed with hands, masher, blender or food processor, or what have you.
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 8-12 oz of chopped chicken breast
Add to cilantro stalks, turmeric let the turmeric heat up a bit, then add chilies.
Add in ginger & garlic, mix
Now your ready for the main ingredients, the potatoes & the cauliflower, sprinkle with your favorite salt, and a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock at this time, but keep in mind that aloo gobi is supposed to be a dry dish, not a saucy one, watery aloo gobi is no no.
Cover and cook on low or medium low for about 20 min or until the veggies are starting to get tender. Stir and check frequently, I'm lucky the burners on my stove will almost melt chocolate chips on a paper plate, other stove tops will burn the crap out of water. You could put this pup in the over too and do it that way, I haven't though.
Then add tomatoes, (and chicken breast if using) the important reason for doing this, that I have found is the the citric acid in the canned tomatoes (varies by brand) PREVENTS the veggies from tenderizing. I've cooked this stuff or over an hour several times. But after reading Rhulman's book, last year The Making of a Chef (1997) I think I figured it out. Acid increases cooking time or keeps veggies firm, that's why its in the chopped tomatoes. This is now a weekday meal. Maybe the 'tinned' tomatoes in Europe have less citric acid added, whole tomatoes also typically do not have as much if any citric acid added.
Then cover & simmer for a while longer, until veggies AND chicken (if using..) are done, hopefully synchronistically. When done stir in garam masala, turn off the heat and let rest until you can't stand it any more for flavor melding and juices assimilation. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and or other stuff mentioned..