I'm a little bit late in writing this post. A few weeks ago, maybe a month, back when it was summery and bright outside, my adorable nephew came over one day with my brother to proudly deliver some of his harvest from their backyard garden. He marched into the kitchen and presented me with one butternut squash, and one cauliflower. I acted suitably impressed, and then he ran off to play, leaving the vegetables on the counter. I left them there, as the fridge was full anyway, and figured I'd think of something to do with them in the next day or so. A reasonable plan.
But do you know what happens when you leave cauliflower sitting on your kitchen counter for a day or two? Your whole house reeks of cauliflower. Reeks. By the next morning, it was utterly imperative that I either find space for that cauliflower in the fridge (which would likely just make my fridge smell) or cook it immediately. Since cooking it was something I would have to do eventually, and cooking it in a way that would make my house smell wonderful, instead of foul would solve two problems at once, (three if you count the fact that it would cover dinner) I opted to cook it.
The boys' grandmother (Anik's mum obviously, not mine) makes a really amazing dish the boys call 'cauliflower curry' that they always devour, so I decided to make that. She's always been a bit proprietary with her recipes, if I ask how something is made, she rattles off a bunch of ingredients really quickly and says it's very simple without giving me any actual direction. So, google then? Surely the internet could tell me what to make. I knew the name of the dish was actually Aloo Gobi (aloo being potatoes, gobi being cauliflower), and I was reasonably confident I had all the spices I needed, so after perusing a few conflicting recipes online, I decided to just wing it. I knew approximately what was in it, and I knew how it should taste, how difficult could it be?
The boys pronounced it delicious, so I present to you my version of Aloo Gobi. (Served with rotis and green chutney and yogurt)
2 whole cloves of garlic
1 chunk of fresh ginger, approximately equivalent to the amount of garlic you have
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
1 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons of peanut oil
1 large serrano pepper, split down the middle leaving halves attached
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
6 small yellow or white potatoes, cut in halves
Throw the garlic, ginger, and vegetable oil in a chopper and chop until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste. Mix the paste, coriander seed, turmeric, and 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large cast iron wok or pot, warm the peanut oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the serrano pepper, wait 30 seconds, and then add the cumin seeds and wait until they're done spluttering. Try not to burn yourself, oil burns hurt! Add the paste-spice mix, which will also splutter. Cook until the paste thickens and deepens in color slightly, about 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and potatoes, stirring to coat the vegetables. Season with salt and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the lid, stir, and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
I eat green chutney with pretty much anything, including this. If you do not have green chutney, chopped cilantro adds some freshness to the salty-oiliness of this dish.