Curried Cauliflower with Potatoes (Gobhi Alu)
Posted by fourclankitchen on February 16, 2010
Have you any idea how delectable curried cauliflower can be? Although the cauliflower is naturally bland, it is a member of the mustard family and can be coaxed to taste mustardy when stir fried. In this Indian version, it is helped along with a bold infusion (tadka/temper) of mustard seeds, dry and fresh spice and nuts. The key flavors in this dish are the mustardiness of the cauliflower and the turmeric (good quality turmeric actually has a flavor- buy it in bulk at Whole Foods). Although the spices that go into Gobhi Alu differ across regions in India, most include either potatoes or peas to add a meaty contrast to the soft crunch of the cauliflower. Try it, you will never crave a cauliflower gratin again.
1 head cauliflower
2 large Yukon gold potatoes microwaved till just done and coarsely cubed.
½ tsp minced ginger
3 tbs. vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp mustard seeds
10-15 curry leaves (omit if you cannot find these; available at all Indian grocery stores)
10-15 cashew nuts
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika (optional)
1 dried cayenne pepper broken into 3 pieces (optional)
1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
1-2 tbs. water
Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork or sharp knife and microwave for 10 min. till just done. Cut cauliflower into small florets. Heat the oil in a large wok till smoking, then add the ginger, mustard seeds, curry leaves, whole cayenne peppers and cashew nuts. Stir until fragrant, about 1-2 min. Then add the cauliflower and mix to coat the cauliflower with the spices and oil. Then add the turmeric, salt, paprika and mix again so that the spices are evenly distributed. Cover the wok with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 15-20 min, stirring often. If the cauliflower starts to stick too much to the wok, add a little water, one tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking. If you add too much water, the cauliflower will have a steamed rather than a fried taste- so add as little water as necessary. Add the potatoes, mix again till the potatoes pick up the turmeric and turn yellow. Cook for a few minutes longer, so that the potatoes and cauliflower caramelize a little. When done, the potatoes should be soft and slightly browned, while the cauliflower should be slightly crunchy and also browned. Taste and adjust the salt. Serve with rice or any flatbread.
A word about woks: not all are created equal. A thin-walled cast iron wok that heats really quickly works best. Here is one that I like. You will also need a wok ring. Together the wok and ring should cost less than $ 20.