Pity the guy who doesn’t attend the “Health and Wellness” lecture presented at work but depends on colleagues to give him or her (in this case, Wes the hubby) the highlights and takeaways from the lecture. For the last month since, Wes has gone total vegy (his colleague that went to the lecture lasted only 36 hours sans meat). I love meat but being the loyal and loving wife (my friends are laughing heartily right now) I am also living the vegy life. I have fallen off the bandwagon (lots, totally busted on Instagram) but usually without him present. Hey, a girl needs her protein.
What we have found is there are certain cuisines that lend themselves well to vegetarianism (is that a word?) like Indian cuisine. We have had Indian food no less than once a week so it is about time we try making it at home. Our first attempt, Aloo Gobi, well known thanks to the movie Bend It Like Beckham, is a bowl of yumminess comprised of potatoes and cauliflower, not too spicy but packed with flavor. The starchiness and density of the vegetables gives the dish a great mouth feel and punch to suppress your carnivore cravings. I looked at lots of recipes and the first thing I noticed was there are about a GAZILLION different spices used in Indian food, most of which I have never used. I fought the urge to give up and call our favorite Indian restaurant for take out.
Lucky for me I have a co-worker I can go to for Indian cooking advice. I have peppered her with questions regarding all the different spices, how to use them, how long to saute’ the vegetables, how to prep the beans or lentils, on and on. My takeaways for newbies attempting Indian food; find a good Asian or Indian grocery store, time and patience is required to toast the spices and aromatics and have lots of cute little bowls (Thanks Snookies) to hold your spices.
Tips for the recipe. Its really important to toast the spices & aromatics in the oil to develop flavor. I actually added the garam masala in with the tumeric and salt. I also used dried coriander (1 tsp) instead of the cilantro stalks. I personally think it was too tomato-ey, I would use 1 fresh tomato chopped in place of the canned tomatoes. I pre-cooked my potatoes and cauliflower by steam microwaving each for 3-5 minutes. The vegetables should be cut into bite size pieces. I used 2 potatoes instead of 3 and tossed in some eggplant for good measure.
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), separated into stalks and leaves and roughly chopped
- 1 small green chili, chopped into small pieces (or one teaspoon chili powder)
- 1 large cauliflower, leaves removed and cut evenly into eighths
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into even pieces
- 2 (8 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- fresh ginger, peeled and grated (1 generous tablespoon)
- fresh garlic, chopped (1 generous tablespoon ~4 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the chopped onion and one teaspoon of cumin seeds to the oil.
- Stir together and cook until onions become creamy, golden, and translucent. Will take 10-15 minutes
- Add chopped coriander stalks, two teaspoons of turmeric, and one teaspoon of salt.
- Add chopped chillis (according to taste) Stir tomatoes into onion mixture.
- Add ginger and garlic; mix thoroughly.
- Add potatoes and cauliflower to the sauce plus a few tablespoons of water (ensuring that the mixture doesn't stick to the saucepan).
- Ensure that the potatoes and cauliflower are coated with the curry sauce.
- Cover and allow to simmer for twenty minutes (or until potatoes are cooked).
- Add two teaspoons of Garam Masala and stir.
- Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top of the curry.
- Turn off the heat, cover, and leave for as long as possible before serving.