Aloo Gobi with Chickpeas
Every so often, I return to my vegetarian ways of the past (I was a vegetarian when BGSK started, just in case you haven’t been reading forever). With the notable exceptions of pepperoni pizza and ShackBurgers, I’ve been choosing to cook veggies since 2016 started. This is all accidental, not as part of a big resolution or anything. In this small kitchen, it’s been all potatoes and peppers and beans and rice and pasta and sauce and cheese.
As an omnivore, I don’t worry too much about protein in my vegetarian food. But after a couple weeks of pasta with veggies, I had the feeling that I should maybe add a handful of chickpeas to my aloo gobi to make sure my muscles stayed strong enough for barre class.
And so, I turned a recipe for the beloved Indian potato and cauliflower curry into a spicy, warming, all-vegetarian formula for a potato and cauliflower stew with chickpeas, making for a complete–if carb-centric–vegetarian dinner whose leftovers make a lunch I couldn’t wait to eat.
You should know that this–and most of the recipes I used as starting points for my experimentations in spicy potatoes and cauliflower–are all shortcuts. The best aloo gobi, like the best ratatouille, requires individually frying the vegetables before you combine them with the sauce. You can do it if you want. I might, sometime. But on a busy weeknight, that sounded like a pain. The other bit of knowledge to have is that aloo gobi is most often a dry curry. There’s not a ton of sauce, though you could increase the amount of tomatoes if you wanted. For that reason, I serve it with paratha instead of rice. If I have a little extra time til dinner, I’ll mix up the carrot raita from this New York Times recipe, which is an ideal match.
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- Neutral oil, like safflower or vegetable
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon dried turmeric
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 2 whole plum tomatoes (from a small can, or fresh), chopped
- 1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets (about 6 cups)
- 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- One 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or about ¼ cups cooked from dried)
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- Cilantro, for garnish
- In a small food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon oil, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Pulse to chop, then add ¼ cup of water and pulse again until you've created a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Heat a Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until hot. Add 2 tablespoons oil, then immediately pour in the cumin and mustard seeds and cover the pot. They'll start popping vigorously. Let them cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the popping stops.
- Add the garlic-ginger-spice paste from the food processor. Cook, stirring constantly, until the paste thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook another minute.
- Add the cauliflower, potatoes, and chickpeas, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the veggies with the paste. Season with salt, then pour in the broth or water. Let come to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until the cauliflower and potatoes are nearly tender. Remove the lid, and let the veggies finish cooking and the sauce reduce, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste for salt, adding more if needed.
- Serve, garnished with cilantro.