Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aloo gobi mattar bhaji

(Potato, Cauliflower, and Pea Bhaji)

I recently posted the comment "So many recipes, so little time..." on a random social networking site. To which, a rather snarky friend of mine replied "So many friends to invite over for dinner..." We made a date, and when the husband's away, the garam masala will play. Dan is not a fan of Indian food so I had to take this opportunity seriously. Aloo gobi was the very first Indian dish that I ever tried-at the time, it seemed the most "safe." It was, and I have been in love with the dish and the cuisine ever since, much to the dismay of my better half. It only makes sense that this would be the first dish I try my hand at. The recipe is from a great little book that I recieved for Christmas last year, and is one of my few cookbooks. Who needs a ton of cookbooks when you have the internet? I really do feel this way, but also say it to defend my somewhat lonely collection of books. The book is Global Vegetarian Cooking: Quick & Easy Recipes From Around the World. It's very user friendly, and when they say easy they mean it. The book is full color, it has an introduction all about food and nurtrition, and each recipe has a paragraph preceeding it that tells a little story about the culture and the dish. My only gripe is that many of the recipes have the ingredients listed by weight, this one calls for 1/2 pound each of the cauliflower, potato, and peas. And since I don't have a kitchen scale-sigh-I have to rely on the ones at the grocery store. For the record 1/2 lb. heads of cauliflower don't exist, and exactly how much is a 1/2 pound of frozen peas from a bag anyway? I did the work for you on this one by simplifying the amounts and adjusting the spices accordingly. The red pepper flakes were my addition and next time I'll be adding more!

Aloo Gobi Mattar Bhaji
adapted from Global Vegetarian Cooking

1 small head cauliflower (1 1/2-2 lbs.), cut small
1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced
1 c. frozen peas
2 tbsp. canola oil
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
3/4 tsp. garam masala
3/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt (a few pinches)
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1. First, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry the chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, cumin seeds, and pepper flakes for 30 seconds-1 minute.
2. Then add the vegetables, half the cilantro and salt, and stir-fry to mix the ingredients for 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour in a little water to cover the base of the pan. Put on the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time and partially mashing the ingredients.
4. When cooked, garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves before serving.

This was beyond easy and so fragrant and delicious, but not overwhelming. I served it with Trader Joe's Garlic Naan-the original naan is fantastic too. You can find them both in the freezer section.

*Update* - 1/16/10 - I made this again this week, and for those of you who are wondering if it's really necessary to buy cumin seeds for this...it's not. I accidentally used 3/4 tsp. ground cumin instead just beacause that's what I am used to grabbing and I couldn't tell the difference.

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