Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower with Potato) and Aloo Mattar (Potato with Peas)

Another old favorite!

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

You need: 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled or not, cut into 1/4″ cubes; 1 medium-sized cauliflower cut into florets (or 1/2 packet frozen florets); 1/2 tsp each of haldi (turmeric powder) and lal mirch (red chili powder); 1 tsp dhania (coriander) powder; 3-5 curry leaves (kadipatta); 1-2 sabut lal mirch (dried red chilies, optional); salt to taste

How to: Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the jeera, curry leaves, and dried red chilies to it. Turn the heat down to medium-high. When the jeera starts to sputter, add the powdered spices and stir quickly to prevent them from burning. Immediately add the potatoes and salt and stir well. Add the cauliflower and stir again. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and let it cook until done (potatoes should be soft all the way through and cauliflower should be easy to cut with a spoon). Turn off the heat. Eat with rice or roti, or with yogurt for a really nice flavor.

Variation: Aloo Mattar: replace the cauliflower with one cup fresh or frozen peas.

Gobi Mattar (Cauliflower with Peas)

Quick, easy, and an old favorite!

Preparation time: 2 minutes if using frozen, 30 minutes if using fresh vegetables

Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

You need: 1 medium-sized cauliflower, cut into florets (or one bag frozen); 1 cup fresh or frozen peas; 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds); 1/2 tsp each of haldi (turmeric) and lal mirch (red chili powder); salt to taste.

How to: Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. When it is hot, reduce the heat to medium-high and add the jeera, haldi, and lal mirch. When the jeera starts to sputter, add the cauliflower, peas, and salt. Stir well, until coated with the turmeric (it will turn yellow). Add upto 1/4 cup water, stir briefly, and cover (Add a little water, let it cook covered for about 3-4 minutes, see if it is “catching” on the bottom, if so, add a little more, and so on). Let it cook for about 10 minutes, and check to see if it is done. (Try to cut a piece off the cauliflower with the spoon. If it is easily done, your vegetables are cooked). Once it is cooked, let any remaining water cook off.

Serve with rice or roti.

Cauliflower / Potato / Eggplant Curry

This one’s always fun. Despite the long list of instructions, it’s actually rather quick and very easy.

You need:
One packet frozen or fresh chopped cauliflower (potato/eggplant/pretty much any other vegetable, including things like zucchini – chop ’em up into 1/2″ pieces)
one large tomato, or one small can diced tomatoes.
one large onion
a tsp. of minced ginger (or ginger paste)
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds (सरसों )
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (जीरा )
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds (मेथी दाना)
one dried red chili
Some curry leaves (कड़ी पत्ता )
One bay leaf
1/4 tsp. turmeric (हल्दी )
1/4 tsp. red chili powder (लाल मिर्च )
Salt to taste

How to:
Chop the onions and tomato.
Boil or steam the cauliflower, whichever you prefer. Drain, leaving a little water. (If you are using any other vegetable, you don’t have to boil or steam it, though if you boil potatoes it cooks faster in the masala).

Heat some oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilies, and bay leaf. Let them brown a bit, then add the fenugreek seeds. Watch them carefully! If they burn (turn black) toss it out and start again, because it tastes awful and will permeate the rest of the dish.
When the fenugreek is just brown, add the chopped onions. Let them lightly brown, then add the ginger paste. Cook a few minutes.
Add turmeric and red chili powder. (If, later, the curry tastes bitter, you’ve probably used too much turmeric). Cook a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes. Add the salt. Stir well and let it simmer a bit. You could, at this point, throw in some frozen peas and let them thaw and cook.
Add the cauliflower about five minutes before you take it off the fire, stir in and let it simmer a few minutes to absorb the flavor. If you’re using unboiled vegetables, stir in, cover, and let simmer till the vegetables are cooked. If you’re not sure when they’re cooked, take some out and taste it. Stir now and again.

Eat with rice/chappatis/parathas/whatever else you like.
For flavor, or if it’s too spicy, add some ghee (clarified butter) – not more than 1/ tsp!

Very quick version:
Chop onions, lightly brown, add chopped tomatoes, salt, and garam masala, stir and cook five minutes. Add cooked and drained cauliflower, let it all simmer a few minutes, and eat. Not as tasty, though.

No-spices-around version:

Heat the oil, add the onions and let them cook. Add the tomatoes and salt. If you have any spices at all, such as black pepper or crushed red pepper, this is when you could add them and stir them in. If not, keep going, but cauliflower is a bit bland when it’s not spiced up with something. Add the boiled/steamed cauliflower, give it a quick stir, let it simmer for 3-4 minutes, and turn off the heat.