This is a Punjabi classic and, needless to say, there are many ways of cooking it. While we were filming the cookery series that accompanies this book, we spent a great deal of time searching for our ideal aloo gobi. There were many opinions. We tasted this, we tasted that. In the end, we all agreed that the perfect dish was produced by the mother of one of our own crew members. So, for me at any rate, this will always be Harjit's mum's aloo gobi. Gurbax uses all the leaf bottoms and stem sections that come with the cauliflower head. She just chops them up coarsely and cooks them with the spice mixture.
This is generally eaten with Indian breads, dal and yogurt raita.
- sunflower oil, to deep-fry
- 600 g (1 lb 4 oz) cauliflower florets, plus about 150 g (5½ oz) stalks and leaves, chopped
- 450 g (1 lb) potato, peeled and roughly chopped
For the rest
- 2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp finely grated or crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp peeled, finely grated root ginger
- 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
- 3–4 hot green chillies, finely chopped
- 1¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Start with the deep-frying. Pour the oil into a karhai or wok and set it over a medium-high heat. Wait for it to get very hot. Fry the cauliflower florets (not the stalks or leaves) in two batches, for about 2 minutes each batch, or until light brown all over. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Ensure the oil has time to reheat between batches. Now carefully add the potato to the oil, standing back in case of splashes, and fry for 5-6 minutes, or until golden all over. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. (Strain the oil and save it for future use.)
Now for the rest. Set a clean karhai, wok or heavy-based pan, about 20 cm in diameter, over a medium heat. Pour in the oil and, when hot, add the onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the cumin seeds. Stir for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion is light brown. Spoon in the garlic and ginger. Stir for 2 minutes, adding a splash of hot water if it starts to stick. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes, or until completely integrated. Sprinkle in the chillies and salt and stir for 1 minute. Crumble in the fenugreek, stirring for 1 minute. Spoon in the turmeric and mix well. Add another splash of water if necessary, then tip in the cauliflower stalks and leaves and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes, or until soft. Add a little water if the pan seems to dry out. Now put in the deep-fried cauliflower florets and potato and the chopped coriander, mix gently and cook for a final 2 minutes, then serve.