20 years ago, I tried this dish for the very first time. My college roommate, Salina, is from Kenya, but her parents are from Gujarat. Apart from being one of the most incredible, beautiful and kindest persons I have met to date, she also opened up my mind to so many different things. With her, I traveled to Kenya, and had one of the most life changing trips. I entered not only Africa, but was received with open arms by her family, and they made me their protegé, and taught me so many things about Indian culture. Back then, Salina used to cook for me. I didn’t even know how to boil water. But wow….she used to make these things that I had NEVER heard of. But I loved them all. I loved her little tiffin box full of spices. I secretly coveted it. I secretly wished I could be as talented as her in the kitchen.
But she did leave me with quite a few recipes. Honestly, I don’t think I could have ever made them until now. Thanks to the beauty of internet and the fact that I can now manoeuvre around a kitchen, I can figure out what “kala jeera” is (black cumin seed) and to figure out what “when the oil separates” means. I think her recipes are beautiful. It wasn’t from a book, she was cooking from her heart, and from her amazing mother’s heart. ( I heart Bena- her mummy, my other mummy.)
So, today I decided to tackle this recipe, which was one of my favorites. And I received the best compliment of all. A friend of mine who has traveled extensively throughout India took one bite and said, “Mmmm, this takes me back to India! Do you mind if I eat with my hands?”
And this of course, made me very, very happy. Because my other mummy taught me how to eat with my hands too.
So, here is Salina’s wonderful Alu Gobi!
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 large onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
1 cup peas
For the masala:
1/3-1/2 cup ghee or oil
1 tsp kala jeera (cumin seeds)
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 green ( I used red) chillies, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt, or to taste
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Wash the cauliflower, potatoes and peas together.
Heat the ghee/oil, and lightly fry the cumin seeds. Add the onions and fry to a light golden color. Add the tomatoes, ginger, chillies, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder, chilli powder and garam masala to the onions. Cook on low heat until the oil separates. (About 10-15 minutes). Add the cauliflower, peas and potato with about 1/4 cup water, and stir the vegetables until well mixed with the masala. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat. When cooked, if there is any liquid in the pan, increase the heat and evaporate until the sauce is thick. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapati, puri or paratha. (I made spiced puris in the picture above).
From my Indian mummy’s kitchen to yours,