How to prepare a ideal aloo gobi

May 12, 2016 - Essential Water

According to prepare Vivek Singh, this robust cauliflower and potato plate is substantially “the many common and simple unfeeling curry we will find anywhere in India”. Cheap, stuffing and usually coincidentally vegan, it’s a recipe we really need in your repertoire.

The problem is, nonetheless aloo gobi has a origins in a Punjab, it’s now a organisation favourite opposite India and Pakistan – and, as Singh observes, “one of a disadvantages of a concept interest is that there is no such thing as a concept recipe”. Consider this, then, as one really good place to start.


Aloo, of course, means potato – a fortitude of this dish. Most recipes are flattering deceptive on this point, with usually Kaushy Patel’s book Prashad – formed on recipes from her family’s Bradford vegetarian grill of a same name – naming a slick variety; and Sumayya Usmani – author of a new book Summers Under a Tamarind Tree: Recipes and Memories from Pakistan – recommending some-more floury Maris Pipers in a recipe from her maternal grandmother, Nani. The latter alleviate some-more simply during cooking, giving a fluffier outcome – some-more comforting, perhaps, though some-more disposed to tumble detached in a pan. It seems in a suggestion of this frugal plate to use adult whatever we occur to have in a house, though if you’re shopping them specially, I’d suggest slick potatoes.

Vivek Singh’s aloo gobi. Photograph: Felicity Cloake a Guardian

Patel sautés a potatoes in prohibited oil before adding any liquid, and a recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Bible does a same with pre-cooked spuds. Perhaps cave aren’t cold enough, though we find these boiled cubes soak adult most of a fat in a pan, creation a hoax of her instruction that one should flow out a additional oil before adding any other mixture – frying adds both brilliance and essence to a dish, though a outcome should stop brief of greasy.

Every recipe calls for a potatoes to be peeled before use. As usual, I’m not going to bother: potato skins supplement essence and texture, nonetheless I’m certain this would be discharged as tiny indolence by your normal Punjabi granny.


The cauliflower is, in theory, a easier proposition, nonetheless a lady behind my favourite veg case informs me it’s now rarer than hen’s teeth interjection to a winter floods. (Supermarkets, of course, seem to have fewer problems.) As with a potatoes, a brief dance in prohibited oil will move out a flavour. Bear in mind that, as Singh suggests in his book Curry: Classic and Contemporary, if we cut a florets “slightly bigger than a potatoes, they will prepare in roughly a same time, rather than overcooking and decaying before a potatoes are done”.

Sumayya Usmani’s aloo gobi. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for a Guardian


Although aloo gobi tends to be a sincerely dry dish, some glass is compulsory to prepare a vegetables and this generally comes in a form of tomatoes (although Jaffrey, who produces a wettest chronicle we test, also adds water). In a homeland, of course, a tomatoes would roughly always be fresh, though here, unless it’s high summer, I’d suggest a tinned accumulation – or adding a dollop of tomato puree as well, as Usmani recommends, “for colour”. Her salsa is abounding and flavourful, that we think is since she takes a time to prepare off a additional glass from a tomatoes, simmering a curry “until a oil rises”, a classical pointer of a well-cooked curry, and a fact blank from some of a other recipes.

Madhur Jaffrey’s aloo gobi. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for a Guardian


Only Patel eschews onion – and either we go for Usmani’s sweeter, richer red onion, or a some-more widely used delectable yellow variety, it’s critical to prepare it until soothing and golden, though vouchsafing it brown. Ginger and garlic finish this really Indian holy threesome of bottom flavours, and Patel also sticks in some crushed immature chilli, though my row prefers them left whole, a la Jaffrey, Singh and Usmani – and not usually since some of them are sum wimps. Whole chillis, simmered in a gravy, supplement a most gentler feverishness – and, as a bonus, they demeanour utterly pretty, too.

Jaffrey whizzes her onion, ginger and garlic into a pulp before cooking, that means her gravy tastes overpoweringly of onion – no bad thing, though it doesn’t leave most room for a other flavours.

Kaushy Patek’s aloo gobi. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for a Guardian


A few spices cocktail adult in roughly each recipe we try – cumin, for example, that pairs beautifully with cauliflower, and turmeric for colour. Coriander seeds supplement a appreciative zestiness, and we adore a delectable strike of Usmani’s nigella seeds, that performs a identical purpose to Jaffrey and Patel’s some-more garlicky asafoetida, though looks some-more attractive. She’s also a usually one to use dusty fenugreek leaves – generally sole as methi, that gives her plate a sold sour herbaceousness. This is offset by a benevolence of homemade garam masala (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and star anise) – it’s not essential, though it does make for a some-more engaging flavour. Add chilli powder to taste; aloo gobi should be a really modest pleasure, and one person’s comforting regard is another’s sweaty nightmare.

To finish

A fist of orange juice, as Singh suggests, adds an acidic component (which is lacking in tinned tomatoes in particular), and a handful of coriander adds freshness; both acquire in a carb-rich plate that can tend towards a heavy. If we cite it heavy, however, afterwards we competence suffer Patel’s finishing touch: a large dollop of butter – that might go some approach to explaining because Indian grill food always tastes so good.

Perfect aloo gobi

Felicity Cloake’s ideal aloo gobi. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for a Guardian

(Serves 4)
4 tbsp neutral oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp nigella seeds
350g slick potatoes, cut into severe 2.5cm dice
1 middle cauliflower, cut into florets and chunks of petiole somewhat incomparable than a potato
1 yellow onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tin of plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 5 chopped uninformed tomatoes and 1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted in a dry vessel and ground
½-1 tsp middle chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
2-4 tiny immature chillies, cut along their length
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp garam masala
Juice of ½ a lime
Small garland of uninformed coriander, chopped

Heat a oil in a wide, lidded vessel over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, supplement a cumin and nigella seeds and prepare for a few seconds util they pop, afterwards supplement a potatoes and sauté until golden. Scoop out with a slotted ladle and repeat with a cauliflower, afterwards dip this out into a apart bowl.

Turn a feverishness down to medium-low, supplement a small some-more oil if necessary, and supplement a onion. Cook until soothing and golden though not brown, afterwards stir in a garlic and ginger and prepare for a integrate of minutes. Tip in a tomatoes, belligerent coriander, chilli and turmeric and cook, stirring regularly, until a oil starts to pool around a side of a pan.

Add a potatoes behind in along with a uninformed chillies and salt, move to a simmer, spin down a heat, cover and prepare for 5 minutes. Add a cauliflower and a good dash of water, cover and prepare until both are tender, stirring spasmodic to make certain it doesn’t stick, and adding some-more H2O if necessary.

Take off a heat, stir in a methi and garam masala and leave for 10 minutes, afterwards stir in a orange extract and uninformed coriander before portion – Usmani recommends pairing it with “plain basmati, naan, paratha or brioche buns, and a plight or chutney”.

Aloo gobi: can cauliflower get any better? How do we prepare yours – informal variations generally acquire – and that other Indian vegan and vegetarian recipes would we recommend?

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