Many years ago I spent several months traveling in India for no better reason than I liked the sound of it. While I did not “find myself” I did discover some useful things. Firstly if you want to lose weight there is no better diet than 3 months traveling and secondly that Indian food is quite tasty.
Before I arrived in Chennai I had never stepped foot in an Indian restaurant! I have to admit it was not an instant love affair, besides not knowing any of the dishes, there were the health implications of dining in India and my natural resistance to trying new things. It was not until I met fellow travellers Frank and Silvia (with whom I still remain good friends to this day) that my eyes were truly opened to the joy of Indian cuisine. It was only with their cajoling that I realised the joy of the unknown, this also extended beyond the food as with India almost everything is unexpected.
India holds special food memories for me, not only was it the last place that I ate a McDonald’s, it was the only time I have tried vegetarianism (I realise the contradiction here) and it was also where I discovered Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower). Although not a complex dish I tried many variations ranging from the mild home-cooked version I had in Kodagu to the unbelievably spicy version I could not eat in Kodaikanal.
Whilst I have often wished to recreate Indian dishes at home I have always found the list of ingredients off-putting. Everytime I open a recipe there is at least one spice we are missing which means another trip to Sahadi’s to stock our ever-expanding collection. However this almost aloo gobi recipe is as simple as a curry can be.
The recipe is straight from a blog post so I cannot take credit, but here is the method.
They have swapped the potato out in favour of chickpeas allowing for the addition of rice and adding protein without the need for meat. Serves 3-4
1 tablespoon canola oil /better with ghee if you can get it
1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ medium head cauliflower, cut into small-medium sized florets
(15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
(15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 ounces frozen peas
1. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, and curry powder. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Add the cauliflower and toss to incorporate with the spices, then stir in ½ teaspoon salt, the chickpeas, and the tomatoes with their liquid. Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peas, cover again, and continue simmering for 2-3 minutes, until the peas are heated through. Serve over rice, topped with plain yogurt and mango chutney, if desired.
We served this with some home-made garlic naan and a spicy coriander chutney. The recipe does not include any hot spice, feel free to add chilis or cayenne pepper to taste with the rest of the spices.
The bread I made from scratch, it is based on a Lavash recipe but makes perfect Indian style flat bread, and is so simple to make.
300g white flour
3g instant yeast (9g fresh yeast)
Mix ingredients and develop into a strong smooth dough, shape into 75g balls, cover and allow to rise for 1 hour at room temperature. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and no more than 24 hours. When ready to cook pre-heat a pan to a high heat. De-gas dough balls and use a rolling-pin flatten , add some oil/ghee and place dough in pan allowing the dough to bubble and brown, flip and continue for approx 90 seconds each side.