Had enough rich food this Christmas? I yearn for something spicy and vegetarian in the festive season and found this recipe online (thank you Felicity Cloake: the perfect aloo gobi). It was simply scrumptious – cooking the potatoes and cauliflower separately first gives a much more unctuous and rich taste to this simple meal. we didn’t need anything with it as we were still full from Christmas indulgence, but serve with rice or naan.
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp nigella seeds
350g waxy potatoes, cut into rough 2.5cm dice
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets and chunks of stalk slightly larger than the potato
1 yellow or red onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tin of plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 5 chopped fresh tomatoes and 1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted in a dry pan and ground
½-1 tsp medium chilli powder
½ tsp fresh or dried turmeric
2-4 small green chillies, slit along their length
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp methi (dried fenugreek leaves) optional
1 tsp garam masala
Juice of ½ a lime
Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
Heat the oil in a wide, lidded pan over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin and nigella seeds and cook for a few seconds util they pop, then add the potatoes and sauté until golden. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and repeat with the cauliflower, then scoop this out into a separate bowl.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, add a little more oil if necessary, and add the onion. Cook until soft and golden but not brown, then stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes. Tip in the tomatoes, ground coriander, chilli and turmeric and cook, stirring regularly, until the oil begins to pool around the side of the pan.
Add the potatoes back in along with the fresh chillies and salt, bring to a simmer, turn down the heat, cover and cook for five minutes. Add the cauliflower and a good splash of water, cover and cook until both are tender, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick, and adding more water if necessary.
Take off the heat, stir in the methi and garam masala and leave for 10 minutes, then stir in the lime juice and fresh coriander before serving with plain basmati, naan, paratha and a pickle or chutney”.