Sunday, 28 December 2014

5. Aloo Gobi – Spiced Potato and Cauliflower


Lady Diana at the Taj Mahal

    Here is a spicy mughlai vegetable dish of spiced potato and cauliflower from India which I like very much. It makes a pleasant and spicy alternative to the traditional Cauliflower Cheese.                                                                                                                                            

     Like much Indian food, mughlai cooking originated in the kitchens of the Mughal Emperors from Persia who conquered and ruled much of the Indian continent from the 16th to the 18th century,  introducing new spices, dried fruit and nuts to Indian cooking and leaving us the majestic Taj Mahal mausoleum.

     There are many variations and spicy additions to this aromatic dish, (such as fresh coriander), but I cook it more simply, as below.  As usual I bought the ingredients from Barrow Boys in Ryde. 

     I eat this as a main dish with a Naan bread , (itself a mughlai style of bread baking), when I wish to enjoy a meatless meal.

     Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like cauliflower decreases the risk of obesity,  diabetes and heart disease, while the particular antioxidant ndole-3-carbinol or I3C in cauliflower has been shown to reduce the risk of breast and male reproductive cancers.  Other health giving nutritional benefits of the cauliflower can be found in the link under Further Reading below. 

     The vegetable has a long history dating back some 2000 years to cultivation in Syria and Cyprus.  Oldest records date back to 6th century BC and Pliny mentions its use in Roman cuisine.  Introduced into France in the 16th century, it is featured in the first influential  French cookbook Le Cuisinier françois (François Pierre de la Varenne, 1651). 

Ingredients: Serves 4.                                                                            
  1. 2  tbs light Olive Oil.   
  2. 1  large Onion chopped small. 
  3. 1  Red chili, chopped small. 
  4. 1  Head of Cauliflower florets.   
  5.  2  Potatoes peeled and chopped into bite size cubes.                                                                                           
  6.  4 Tomatoes, chopped. 
  7. 1  inch  fresh root Ginger, peeled and grated. 
  8. 1  clove Garlic, (or more to taste), chopped fine. 
  9. 1  tsp each of Fennel seed, Fenugreek, Cumin, Coriander, Salt.  
  10. 1  tbs  ground Turmeric.   
  11. 2  tbs Garam Marsala.

Method:  Prep: 15 mins. Cook: 30 mins.
  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan. 
  2. Add the chopped onion and fennel and stir cook until onions are translucent. 
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, spices and salt.   
  4. Stir in potatoes and cauliflower florets together with a few tbs of milk to ensure the mixture does not stick to the saucepan.    
  5. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked, (about 20 minutes).   
  6. Stir in the garam marsala and serve.

                                                                                Stuart Buchanan

Further Reading

Medical News Today Health benefits of Cauliflower
Mughlai Cuisine  Over 200 spicy mughlai meat and vegetarian recipes.
Taj Mahal   History and description of India's most famous architectural wonder.

Food for thought: Dishes carry the triumphs and glories, the defeats, the loves and sorrows of the past. 
Claudia Roden
A Book of Middle Eastern Food 1968

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