Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aloo Gobi Masala

Disclaimer: I make no claims to know what I'm talking about when it comes to Indian food. Except it is delicious. No, really - I have no idea what I'm talking about (except for the delicious part).

Today, I craved massive amounts of mushy - yet well-seasoned! - vegetables. (It's one thing I love about southern cuisine - huge plates full of mashed turnips, potatoes, creamed corn, and peas with relish, all running together on the plate!).

See, the thing about well cooked vegetables is you can get tons of that tasty nourishment in your belly for ultimate satisfaction and fullness - the good kind of fullness, that goes right through you (sorry if that caused an unwanted mental picture!) after it's given you all its vitamins and yummy taste, instead of sticking around on your hips!

I know lots of women, including my sister, who craved this sort of hot, savory vegetable smoothie of a meal when they were pregnant.  I myself crave it most often when I'm training for a triathlon.  Which tells me that our bodies are begging for lots of nutrients, as soon as possible.

A big plate of mushy, well-seasoned vegetables ranks above even macaroni and cheese on the comfort food scale.

I also saw a big plate of curry on this fun blog I discovered.  It's called Chocolate-Covered Katie.  I like it because her diet is, indeed, different, but in a good way!  She eats massive amounts of delicious, good-for-you food.  I tried her idea for adding chocolate to my steel cut oatmeal today. Oh my gosh.  Just a few chocolate chips turned my big bowl of oatmeal with blueberries into a dessert for breakfast!  Brilliant!

Anyway, so I saw the curry and it definitely fit the bill.  Here's my recipe.

Aloo Gobi Masala (serves 6):
5 yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
1 container plum tomatoes, finely diced
1 head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
2 bunches chard, kale, or other leafy green, chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk, sour cream, or yogurt
1 tbsp nut butter
Salt to taste

Spice Blend:
4 tsp chili powder
4 tsp tumeric
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp fresh-ground coriander seed

Paste:
10 cloves garlic
4 green chilis (I de-seed 3, to cut down on the heat!)
a few chunks of fresh ginger
big handful of fresh cilantro
a little oil (optional, but helps to blend into a paste in the food processor; otherwise the ingredients stick to the side)

First, toss your potatoes and onions in a generous amount of olive oil, chili powder, sea salt, and pepper (this is seperate from the spice blend; I'm assuming these ingredients are a given in your pantry).  Place them in a foil-lined pan, put them in a 400-degree oven, and forget about them, except to stir them occasionally, while you tend to chopping the other vegetables.  They'll need about an hour or so, after which you can turn off them oven and leave them in there to stay warm and toasty until you require their delicious services.

As soon as your potatoes and onions are in the oven, chop all your vegetables and place them in bowls to wait.  Grind and blend your spices, and set aside in a bowl.  Grind your paste in the food processor, and set aside in a small bowl.  Clean up your kitchen (it's much more fun to cook in a clean kitchen).  By now, your potatoes are probably ready and it's time to cook! Dinner will be ready in a matter of minutes!

Begin by heating a little sesame, peanut, or olive oil on the stove on medium.  Add the paste, and cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the spice blend, and stir to combine.  Allow this mixture to heat and smell delicious, but don't let it burn.  Add the tomatoes, and stir to combine.  Add the nut butter and milk, and stir to combine.  Add the cauliflower, and stir until well coated.  Add the chard, about 1 cup of water, a generous amount of salt, and stir. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until the vegetables are cooked, adding more water if needed, and removing the lid if you need the sauce to reduce a little more.

When the cauliflower is cooked, stir in the roasted potatoes and onions, remove from heat, and let sit covered for about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with additional chili powder and garlic salt.

Garnish - and this is important - with fresh lime slices.  The fresh lime at the end really makes the dish!

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