Let's eat aloo gobi ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

29 June 2007

Let's eat aloo gobi

One of the delivery foods you can't get in silicon valley is INDIAN. There are lots of Indian restaurants; none of them deliver. This is pretty terrible when you really, really want some palak paneer, but have ridden your bike thirty miles already that day. On the other hand, it is an excellent reason to start expanding your skills in all directions.

This time I made aloo gobi. I've made the exact recipe before, for the grand feast of John's 26th birthday last birthday week.

Birthday week: the week including both my and John's birthday; the first week in October. Activities for birthday week include cooking at least one item we've never made before every night, with various addenda, then eating it.

So last birthday week included aloo gobi, Nigel Slatery aromatic rice, and homemade naan all in one night. It was excellent, but also required a large variety of supplies and pans. This week we were not quite having a grand feast; I just made aloo gobi and rice, and warmed up some pitas in the oven. It was still a pretty good idea.

The only thing I really severely changed in this recipe (although I did several minor things as well, such as scaling down amounts) was the use of water. You may notice that the original calls for ZERO but still somehow expects the potatoes and cauliflower to get steamed. I don't know how that would happen, so perhaps it's just an editorial omission. In any case, I tried it without water, served it out and tasted it, noticed how dry everything was, then added it whether or not the recipe said so. It was fine. Experimentation pays off sometimes.

Aloo gobi

most of a cauliflower
several boiling potatoes
an onion
fresh ginger
a hot pepper, in this case jalapeƱo
dry spices: cumin, garam masala, turmeric, coriander (seed), salt

This is really easy; it just requires patience.

Warm oil in a sauté pan. I used olive oil because we have lots of it and none of any other kind. Chop up your onion and throw it in with a bunch of cumin. I used powder since I don't have seeds. I should probably get some of them at some point.

Peel and mince garlic; peel and mince ginger; do not peel but mince hot chili pepper. Floretify a cauliflower and dice three or four potatoes.

Is the onion soft and correct? Add the garlic, ginger, and hot pepper. Cook a few minutes, then add the rest of the spices and mix. I just add several good shakes of coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, plus several good pinches of salt. Don't oversalt; you can always taste and add more later.

Let the spices all cook and aromaticize for a minute, then add the potatoes and maybe a half cup of water. Mix it up and get everything good and spicy. It is particularly easy to tell if this spice mixture has spread by the use of yellow turmeric. Put on the pot lid and simmer until the potatoes are mostly tender. Then add the cauliflower pieces, plus more water if necessary, and simmer again. I think I ended up using about a cup of water total.

Cook everything together until soft and delicious, taste and correct spices, and you are done.

Eat with rice or naan. We also had a dry French white wine that was a mix of different grapes. White wine works pretty well with this. Beer also works well, as you might imagine. Everyone wants a big bowl of spice and a big can of freezing beer to wash it down on a very hot afternoon.

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