Alu Gobi is a simple, easy vegetable dish or sabji (means vegetable, raw as well as cooked) commonly made in North and West India. Alu means potatoes and Gobi means cauliflower in Hindi, the national language of India. A dry dish spiced lightly with coriander powder and grated ginger, the skill in making a superb Alu Gobi boils down to the texture of potatoes and cauliflower. The potato pieces as well as cauliflower florets should maintain their shape yet turn pierce-able with no resistance. And this needs to happen without water and too much oil. Which means covering the sabji with a lid, keeping an eye on it and sautéing intermittently.
Another specialty of Alu Gobi is its versatility and ability to be scaled up or down as per occasion. It's a happily welcomed weeknight entrée dish paired with roti or paratha or a fitting member of a wedding menu devoured with puri.
Partially-cooked potatoes – Advanced Ingredient 1
Medium sized potatoes peeled and cut into 1” x 1.5” pieces, 2
Vegetable oil (3 tablespoons)
Cumin seeds (1/2 teaspoon)
Cauliflower florets about 2” x 1.5” (2 cups)
Coriander powder (2 teaspoons)
Cumin powder (1 teaspoon)
Red chile powder (1/2 teaspoon)
Turmeric powder (1/2 teaspoon)
Table salt (3/4 teaspoon)
Lime juice (1 tablespoon)
Chopped cilantro (1/4 cup)
Partially-cooked Potatoes – Advanced Ingredient 1
Place potato pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water and heat for 3 minutes in a microwave.
Once the potatoes cool down, drain the water and pat them dry with kitchen cloth or paper napkin.
Putting Alu Gobi together
Take a thick bottomed saucepan or a skillet. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in that pan or skillet and add cumin seeds after waiting for 2 minutes for the oil to heat up.
Once the cumin seeds start popping, add turmeric, cauliflower florets, stir well and cover. Sauté intermittently and leave it covered for 10 minutes.
Follow with potatoes, ginger, coriander, cumin, red chile powder, salt and lime juice.
Cover with a lid and keep stirring every few minutes as the goal is to get a dry Alu Gobi and vegetables that are firm yet fully cooked. Test the level of doneness by inserting a knife in a piece of cauliflower and potato. Knife should go in smoothly but the piece should not fall apart as a result.
This goal should be achieved in about 15-20 minutes but if you find that vegetables are sticking to the pan, or they are still not cooked, sprinkle some water, cover and perform the knife test again after 5 minutes or so.
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve hot or at room temperature with warm pita bread. A side sauce of plain yogurt whisked with salt, red chile powder and cumin powder completes the meal.