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Recipe #25: Aloo Gobi Calcutta-Style (Calcutta-Style Potato & Cauliflower Dish)

Posted Jan 21 2008 12:00am

It's an open secret amongst those who regularly cook Indian dishes that potatoes and cauliflower go quite well together with panchpuran, a classical Indian 5-Spice blend of equal parts fennel seeds (or sounf in Hindi), fenugreek seeds (methi), cumin seeds (jeera), nigella seeds (kalonji), and black mustard seeds (rai).

You can certainly make this spice blend yourself, or, if you don't have all the ingredients at hand or can't buy them locally, simply google the word, "panchpuran" & buy it online either as separate ingredients to mix yourself or as a pre-mixed spice blend. Since the word "panchporan" is a transliterated word (from the Hindi, which literally means "five spices"), there are multiple spellings of the word: I've also seen it spelled "panchphoran," "panchporan," or as two words, "panch poran," etc.

On that note, if you are unfamiliar with common Indian spices & spice blends, please see this link for more detailed information.

Anyhow, here's my own spin on an old classic

Aloo Gobi Calcutta Style (Calcutta-Style Potato & Cauliflower Dish)

1 c. cauliflower, grated
2 c. potatoes boiled (i.e., about 2 large or 4 small potatoes.)
2-3 green chilis (NOTE: Adjust number of chilis according to your own personal spice/heat preference. While I like this dish super-hot, I usually find that a single chili is about as much as what the ordinary human being can withstand. ;-) )
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. panchpuran
1/2 Tbsp. coriander leaves, freshly chopped
1/2 tsp. amchoor (dried mango powder) (If you don't have, substitute lemon juice.)
1/2 tsp. garam masala (Easiest to buy as a pre-blended mixture in an Indian grocery store, or if you're up for the challenge, you can make it yourself. It's not hard to do, but might take some time & experience to get the blend just right. Please note that recipes can vary in ingredients and in levels of heat.)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 Tbsp. cashew pieces (optional)
3-4 pinches asafoetida
1 Tbsp. ghee (i.e., clarified butter; usually sold in a glass jar at most Indian grocery stores.)
salt to taste

Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until skin starts to peel. After boiling, drain sauce pot & pour in cold water & ice cubes to make them easier to peel. Let cool, and then peel potatoes. Grate cauliflower (or even easier, just chop in cuisinart until finely ground), mash potatoes, and finely chop chilis.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While you can certainly chop the cauliflower & chilis in the Cuisinart, please don't put the potatoes in there, as you don't want them to become whipped. Potatoes should be mashed to have a somewhat chunky consistency.

Heat ghee, add cashews and fry until light golden brown. Add panchporan and allow to splutter for a minute or two. Then add cauliflower. Next, add all other ingredients and mix well. Cook for 5-10 minutes, & stir continually.  (Add some water if necessary to keep from burning on bottom.) Then remove from heat and set aside.

NOTE: This dish is a great complement to a full Indian meal. It serves approximately 6-8 people, so if that's too much, simply half or quarter this recipe to suit your needs.

Serving Suggestions: This dish is really tasty when served with condiments like mango chutney, raita, &/or coconut chutney.

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