This is a common Indian dish that literally means: potato (aloo) cauliflower (gob[h]i). There is a lot of variation in how it’s prepared, but this is how I make it.
One deviation I have is that I like it with a lot of ginger. And occasionally I leave out the garlic.
Another trick with this recipe is that you can pre-cook the cauliflower and potatoes ahead and store them in the fridge. Do this over the weekend. Then during the week, you prepare this dish in under 30 minutes including prep.
First there are the normal ingredients:
- 4-6 Potatoes
- 1 Head of Cauliflower
- 2 Large Red Onions
- 3 Poblano Peppers
- 2-4 Jalapeno Peppers
- 1 Tube of Tomato Paste
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1⁄3 Cup Minced Ginger
- Olive Oil
There are also a lot of spices:
- 1 Tbsp Turmeric
- 1 Tbsp Cayenne
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Cardamom
- 1 Tbsp Coriander
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Tsp Clove
First, you will be pre-cooking the cauliflower and potato. This gives you better control over their done-ness and ensures that the final mixture will have the right level dry-ness. For this, you will need to set your oven to 450 Fahrenheit.
Then, cut the cauliflower into large bite sized pieces, roughly 2 inches in size. Bigger is better than smaller here since they will soften and reduce slightly in size as they cook.
Place the cauliflower florets into a bowl. Toss it with a small drizzle of olive oil. Spread it into one, loose layer on a baking sheet and bake at 450F until it is just slightly less than tender.
Simultaneously, cut the potato into 2 inch pieces and boil or bake them so that they are slightly under fork tender. We are taking the cauliflower and potato out just before they are tender, because the last 10% of the cooking will be in the pot with the spices.
While your cauliflower and potatoes are cooking, prepare your spice mix by adding all the spices to a ramekin or other small dish and mixing them. Set this aside for later.
Also do your other prep. Dice the onions and poblano peppers. Mince the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno peppers. Set these aside too.
Once the cauliflower and potatoes are ready, you can start cooking the onion and peppers. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat a splash of oil or water and then saute the onions and peppers.
Also, prepare a glass of water. You’ll need this later to loosen the fond from the bottom of the pot and prevent the mixture from burning.
Next, add the spices and allow them to toast for a minute. Then add the ginger and garlic and cook until aromatic. Once you can smell the garlic, add the tomato paste. Yes, the whole tube. Cook this until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.
When the mixture is sticking, add a small splash water before it starts to burn.
Once the tomato paste has cooked for a minute or two, you can add the pre-cooked cauliflower and potato. Mix well to cover everything in the spicy tomato paste mixture. But try not to smash any of the potatoes or cauliflower florets.
Cook this for about 5 minutes to fuse the spiciness into the potato and cauliflower. And continue adding small splashes of water when it sticks.
Once the flavors have all mingled and coated things, it’s done!
This makes a very big batch. But because I don’t eat animal products, I use this as a main dish. When I make this, I use it for 4 dinners. But, I’d say it could be 6 portions if you have a side dish.
The key technique with this recipe is restraint with adding liquids. The recipe is at it’s best when it has the right level of moisture.
You are trying to get the mixture as moist as possible without having any liquid. It should be like play-do at the end.
Another critical technique is how done the cauliflower and potato are. Obviously they need to be cooked, but you want them to be slightly firm. It’s easy to overcook them and end up with soft cauliflower and mushy potato’s.
When you get the rhythm down, you can time things so that the cauliflower and potato’s are done right when they’re needed. But for your first tries, it’s safer to do 2 steps: first baking/boiling, then the final mixture.