Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Aloo Gobi Mattar: Potato, Cauliflower and Pea Curry

Last night I really needed some comfort food. There must be something about potatoes that sets off a chemical comfort explosion in my brain, because I knew immediately that's what I wanted. So I cooked up one of my favorites - Aloo gobi mattar, an Indian curry with potatoes, cauliflower and peas in a rich blend of spices. My recipe is a slightly more "saucy" adaptation of aloo gobi, which traditionally tends to be a dry curry.

I generally make this as a vegetarian dairy dish, using ghee and vegetable broth (I keep gluten-free bouillon cubes on hand). While you can make this dish vegan/pareve by using olive oil, ghee dramatically enhances the flavor. Serve this dish over basmati rice with naan or chapati. The flatbreads pictured were my second attempt at making gluten-free chapati. After my initial failure I threw together a slighly more palatable version which I spread some tamarind sauce on before using them to scoop up the curry. The recipe is not good enough to share with you all yet, but I'll post it when I've tweaked it a bit.


1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 large onions, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 "- 3/4-inch chunks
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock
4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (including juice)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium hot green chili peppers, minced (seeds included)
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a large wok, karahi, or deep nonstick pan over high heat. Add onions and cumin seeds, and cook until onions are translucent. Then add the minced garlic, chunks of ginger and chili pepper. Sautee for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add all remaining spices, including salt. Stir well.

Immediately add potato to pan. Stir until coated in oil and spices. Turn heat down to medium and sautee potato for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add chicken or vegetable stock, then put lid on pan, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for around 15 minutes.

Add the cauliflower florets, grated ginger and lemon juice. Stir well. Replace lid, turn heat to low, and let simmer for about 10 minutes. If the ingredients are sticking to the pan, you can add a bit more stock or 1/4 cup of water at this point.

Add frozen peas to pan, and stir ingredients. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Turn off heat. Add half of the fresh cilantro, and mix thoroughly. Replace the lid, then allow to rest for 10 minutes before adjusting salt to taste and serving dish over rice. Garnish with remaining fresh cilantro. Makes about 6 generous servings.

I like this picture because of the piece of cilantro that looks like it's balancing precariously
on top of a cauliflower stalk... Careful, don't fall!


~M said...

This looks fabulous and comes at a time when I need warming, comforting food! This will be a fabulous end-of-semester treat.

~M said...

I was also wondering whether this is your only Indian recipe (I didn't see a label for Indian recipes). Since the last two times I've gone to eat Indian in MA - with my Triumph Dining Card - I've ended up getting glutenized, I've sadly had to avoid Indian (except one fabulous vegetarian kosher Indian restaurant in NYC and Amy's frozen mattar paneer).

ByTheBay said...

Actually Michelle I have at least one other terrific recipe which I will post one of these days soon... So keep checking back. I love cooking Indian food and perhaps I will end up making a label for it once there's more than one recipe in this category. Thanks for your feedback!

burekaboy — said...

wow, gluten free chapati? how DID you manage that one? how was it? thankfully, i don't have gluten intolerance. {insert keyn aynhoreh here :P} i'd be a VERY UNHAPPY camper if i did. at least you're finding great recipes to get around it and sharing them with others. this dish is one of my favourites too, especially when made with ghee. but then everything is better with butter, huh?!? :-]

ByTheBay said...

Burekaboy - Yep, everything's better with ghee or butter! It's possible to make a reasonable replica of any gluten-containing dish if you fool around with gluten-free flours enough. It's not as big a deal as it might seem. The gluten-free chapati was made from Pamela's Baking Mix and water. Kind of like pancakes but without the egg. I made a dough, pressed it out with my hands and browned it in a lightly olive-oiled cast iron pan. They weren't good enough to post the recipe. But I still enjoyed having something to scoop the curry up with.

~M said...

After finishing my four finals, and only having one paper to write, I managed to go to the store to get the ingredients. However, Whole Foods did not have any fenugreek seeds. Do you know what I can substitute for the fenugreek? An employee at the prepared foods counter said that fennel is the same, but I haven't found it cross-referenced on any sites. Thanks!

ByTheBay said...

Michelle, fennel tastes nothing like fenugreek - I would not use it in this. There is no good substitute I know of for fenugreek - You should be able to find fenugreek seeds at any Indian grocery store and most health food stores (I"m surprised Whole Foods didn't have it!) It is definitely important to the flavor of this dish, but I'm sure it would taste okay without.

Anonymous said...

I'm also having trouble finding fenugreek seeds... I finally found *ground* fenugreek seeds on the spice rack at a specialty food store. Will that work just as well? Thanks!

ByTheBay said...

Corey - I guess I'm lucky to live in an area with a bunch of Indian grocery and spice stores, because I have no trouble finding any of the spices I need. I'm spoiled! I believe ground fenugreek seeds would, in fact, work - They should be the same spice, but ground (just make sure it's the seeds, not the leaves). I don't know what the substitution rate is but try putting an equal amount in and see how it turns out. Alternately, you can order fenugreek seeds online. I order spices online quite often because you can find harder-to-find spices, you can get good deals and you can sometimes buy in larger amounts. Good luck - let me know how it works out!

Anonymous said...

It turned out great, I thought! (Although I'm not sure how it would have been different had I used seeds that weren't ground.)

It was much spicier than I anticipated, though. :) We had to temper it a bit with some gluten-free bread and mango chutney. What would you recommend changing to tone it down a little? Thanks again!

ByTheBay said...

Corey - By spicy do you mean HOT spicy? If so, I would just eliminate the chili peppers! Glad you enjoyed it.