Sunday, August 19, 2012

My First Try at Indian Cooking: Aloo Gobi

My husband and I love Indian food. We have a couple of favorite restaurants in the LA area. One is Jaipur in West Los Angeles and the other is called Al-Noor in Lawndale. The food is so fragrant and flavorful, it's something we crave quite often. But until this month, I'd never attempted to make it at home...despite the frequent requests I get from my man.

I took baby steps to get there. About 5-6 months ago, I ventured into the spice aisle at the grocery store and found turmeric, cumin seeds, and even bought a Garam Masala mix at a specialty spice store, Penzey's. So that, you know, I would have the spices on hand whenever I was ready.

Months passed, and then a couple of weeks ago, my cousin invited us over for a BBQ and asked me to make a vegetarian potato dish. I thought to myself, "well, here's my chance!" There are lots of Indian dishes with potatoes. I found an easy {recipe} on from Aarti Sequeira for a cauliflower and potato dish called Aloo Gobi.
I needed to double the recipe for the small crowd I was feeding, so I used one large head of cauliflower and 3 good-sized russet potatoes. I cut them all up in similar sized pieces so that they cooked evenly in the pot.
I used two serrano peppers, split in half, but joined at the stem. These little babies released quite a bit of heat, but it mellowed out after it sat for a while. I also made some of Aarti's signature ginger-garlic paste. I used about 1/2 cup of both fresh ginger (stored in my freezer) and garlic (stored in my fridge), and about 1/4 cup of canola oil. I blended in the Magic Bullet blender, and it came out perfect. I had more than enough to keep for later use too.
The veggies were the vehicle for the incredible spices to shine. The scent of the masala mix of turmeric, coriander, ginger-garlic paste and water, added to the cumin seeds that popped away in the oil filled my whole house! It was wonderful!

I added the veggies with 1/2 cup of water to let it all cook without burning and about 1-2 teaspoons of salt to bring out all of the flavors. I gave it a good toss, and let it soften up and cook for about 20 minutes.

Before serving, I removed the serrano peppers. the mixture turns a nice golden yellow color because of the turmeric. It tasted so good - warm spices and soft potatoes and made for a hearty side dish that everyone enjoyed!

I was shocked at how easy this dish really was to make. I think it can be intimidating to cook with spices and ingredients that are unfamiliar, but if you have them all, the technique is actually really simple for any cook.

It's good to try new things! I hope this inspires you to try something you've never tried before. :) Happy cookin'!

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