Modified Cauliflower and Potatoes (Alloo Gobi)

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Mar 182010
Modified Alloo Gobi

Modified Alloo Gobi

Modified Alloo Gobi

Cauliflower and Potatoes Cooked with Fenugreek and Fennel Seeds (Alloo Gobi) is from “World of the East Vegetarian Cooking” by Madhur Jaffrey. I’ve had this cookbook at least 20 years and it shows my love with its pages coming out and cooking stains. I’ve lovingly tried to put all the loose pages in order whenever they fall out. The recipes in it have always worked out well and I trust the book like a classic cooking bible for Asian and middle-eastern vegetarian cooking. I admit most of the recipes I’ve tried are Indian, but would trust the ones from other countries.

I’ve made this Alloo Gobi recipe for a friend of my husband’s who loves the dish for a cooking class and for my family.

“This North Indian dish, supplemented with stuffed Parathas and Sour Lime Pickle, is put into small, brass “tiffin-carriers” and taken as lunch by thousands of school children and office workers. Rolled in the same parathas, it may be taken on picnics or long car journeys.
(serves 6)

2 lbs cauliflower (1 smallish head)
2 medium-sized boiling potatoes (about ¾ pound)
6 tblsps vegetable oil
¼ tsp whole fenugreek seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 to 2 whole dried hot red peppers
¾ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 to 1 ¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garam masala

Discard leaves and coarse stem of cauliflower. Break head into 2-inch long flowerets. Now cut each floweret lengthwise into very slim flowerets, with the heads never wider than ½ inch. Soak in cold water for half an hour.

Peel the potatoes. Cut them into dice, about ½ x ½ x 1/3 inch. Soak in bowl of cold water for half an hour.

Drain cauliflower and potatoes and dry them in a dish towel. Heat oil in a large 12 – to – 14- inch skillet over high heat. When the oil is smoking, scatter in the fenugreek seeds, the fennel seeds, the cumin seeds, and the red peppers. Stir once and quickly add the cauliflower and the potatoes. Stir again and turn the heat to medium. Sprinkle the turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper over the vegetables and sauté them for about 8 to 10 minutes. Now add ¼ cup water and cover immediately. Turn heat to very low and steam vegetables gently about 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle the garam masala over the vegetables, stir once, and serve.

My variations: add sauteed tofu and other vegetables. I made it recently with the addition of tofu and green beans that I had left-over.

Alloo Gobi Plate

Alloo Gobi Plate

I like it with a side of chappati (but a store-bought wheat tortilla would do), along with plain yogurt and Indian pickle. My son loves it as an Indian burrito, wrapped in a wheat tortilla with yogurt.

Mar 102010

I’m about to make chole for dinner tonight. I already made some rajma (kidney bean curry) earlier and have chickpeas to use up. Chana Masala or Chole (chickpea curry) is a standard dish at most Indian restaurants and a protein-rich choice for vegetarians. It’s a great comfort food. Best of all, it’s easy to make.

Chana Masala is generally served with Indian Breads such as : Poori, Chapati, Bhatura etc. Many restaurants serve Chana – Bhatura as a snack or a dinner item. You can make this chickpea curry with lots of gravy or not depending on how you’re serving it. If you’re serving it over rice, then use more gravy. If you’re having it with a bread, like I am tonight, then use less (you can cook it down by leaving the cover off). I found the following recipe on-line that I will follow:


How to make Chickpea curry:


* Dry white Chickpeas – 1 cup
* Red ripe tomatoes – 2 (I used a can of organic diced tomatoes and a small can of organic tomato paste)
* Green chillies – 2
* Onion – 1 large
* Garlic paste – ½ tsp
* Ginger paste – ½ tsp
* Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
* Oil or ghee(clarified butter) – 2 tablespoons
* Cumin seed – ½ teaspoon
* Asafetida – a big pinch.
* Garam masala – 1 tsp
* Red chili powder – ½ tsp or to taste.
* Coriander leaves – ½ cup chopped.


* Use white large chickpeas. Wash the chickpeas. Add 3 cups of water. Soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.
* Boil or pressure cook till chickpeas are soft. It will take about 20 minutes. Add a little salt while cooking.
* Chop onions, coriander leaves finely. Chop/slit green chili.
* Puree tomatoes.

Cooking Method:

1. In a deep pan, heat oil/ghee.
2. Add cumin seeds. When they stop spluttering, add onion. Fry till onions turn transparent.
3. Add ginger and garlic paste. Fry for about 5 seconds.
4. Add tomato puree. Cook for about 7-8 minuts or till oil starts separating (floating on top).
5. Add garam masala, asafetida, red chili powder and cooked chickpeas along with the water. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add salt. Cook for 5-8 minutes more.
7. Add chopped coriander leaves.

Channa Masala is ready. Garnish with more chopped coriander leaves, onion rings. Serve with any Indian Breads, Such as bhatura, poori, paratha, or chapati (a wheat tortilla). I ended up having it inside a toasted pita, with cheese. My son had it on toast, with cheese. Growing up, we used to stuff an Italian loaf with it, along with some Indian pickle like lime, sprinkled with cheese. Great comfort food!

Source: Vegetarian Cooking, Recipes, Tips


Grounding Kichadi

 Ayurveda, Books, Indian Cooking, Recipes  Comments Off on Grounding Kichadi
Mar 032010

Grounding Kichadi

Grounding Kichadi

After a trip, after sickness, or anytime some digestive comfort is desired, nothing satisfies like kichadi. Kichadi is a a simple stew of basmati rice and split mug dal. I grew up eating it with kadhi and a side of plain yogurt, since my childhood in an Indian village. It’s my favorite comfort food combo. I thought kichadi was an ordinary peasant food, like Macaroni and Cheese here. Then I started seeing it in gourmet settings. It truly is a perfect, nutritious food.

After a trip to San Diego the past weekend, I was out of sorts and craved some comfort food. My son had a stomach upset. This is the way it goes after a trip, when your diet has been off its routine. So kichadi was the answer. I followed a recipe somewhat from “The Ayurvedic Cookbook” (Morningstar, Desai). The book lists a variety of recipes to suit one’s needs and dosha. Kichadis are considered the core of Ayurvedic nutritional healing.

I modified a recipe for Digestive Kichadi” based on what I had on hand:
Preparation time: ~1 hour, serves 3-4

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsps ghee or sunflower oil
3 bay leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp oregano, dry
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated (I have some in the freezer, which I grate)
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup split mung dal
4-6 cups water (I used a little less)
3 cups fresh vegetables, such as carrots, zuccini, or summer squash, diced (I used some broccoli I put in the freezer before my trip and frozen peas)

Wash the rice and beans until rinse water is clear.
Warm the ghee in a medium saucepan. Add the cumin seeds, bay, coriander and oregano. Brown slightly, until aromatic. Stir in turmeric, rice and dal. Add water, salt, and ginger. Simmer covered over medium heat until beans and rice are soft, about 1 hour (was less for me – try to make sure it doesn’t turn into a smooth porridge – which can still be tasty). Wash and dice vegetables. Add them and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.

It turned out tasty. I had some plain yogurt on the side. I was only missing the Indian pickles to go with it, which would have made it perfect. I need to get to the Indian store. As an added bonus, my 1 year-old liked it, with yogurt on the side. She seems fine with Indian spices and the consistency was just right for her. It had been a while since I made it for her. She has been having rice and dal with yogurt, which is similar.

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