Servings: 8 Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins Total: 45 mins
There’s a popular and traditional Punjabi (Northern India) dish known as Aloo Gobi, essentially translating to Potatoes & Cauliflower. Because potatoes are so full of starchy carbohydrates, I opted to embrace the age-old, low-carb trick of substituting cauliflower for potatoes. Unfortunately, this left a big hole in the dish, with nothing to replace the cauliflower! Oh, what to do?!
In place of the cauliflower, I used carrots. That’s right… the purportedly high-glycemic Carrots!
(They’re not high-glycemic… that thought stems from improper testing a very long time ago, but the myth has persisted.)
I’ve been unable to locate a reliable Hindi translation of the word fauxtato. So, I’m going to just have to suggest this exotic side is made, primarily, from cauliflower (Gobi). This suggests that this new dish would be called Gobi Gajar (Cauliflower & Carrots). Interestingly, this name and combination is the base for a popular sweet & sour Punjabi pickle!
I am a massive fan of (most) all the world’s herbs and spices (I don’t love saffron or epazote). India has one of the most elaborate use of spices in the world, largely embraced for their health and medicinal (Ayurvedic) properties.
Aside from the base ingredients, this one is spiced with mustard seeds, turmeric, ginger, cumin, and coriander. Some of those may be more familiar to you, than others.
Turmeric, for example, is what’s responsible for the bright, brilliant yellow color. It’s actually a rhizome, meaning it’s a horizontal stem that exists underground. Like a root, but not a root. Roots will flow from the underground stem (rhizome). Turmeric is part of the ginger family. The rhizome portion looks like a cross between a smaller, more design-controlled ginger chunk… and a dark beige caterpillar. Cutting into it will yield an incredibly vibrant, orange flesh, almost like the inside of neon carrot. Once cooked, it’s a relatively subtle taste. The taste it does have is a bit earthy, peppery, and mustardy.
If you ever find yourself handling fresh turmeric, do yourself a favor and use gloves. It will dye your fingers yellow and will not wash off, no matter how hard you scrub. Don’t ask me how I know…
(Ok, you caught me, yellow-handed!)
Speaking of mustard, most people think of mustard as that yellow-ish tart, peppery, and pungent sandwich paste. It’s difficult to pull back from that as the pickling and pulverizing of these seeds takes them to a very different place. When looking for whole, dried seeds, the black and brown seeds have a sharp, hot, and spicy bite, but none of that tart pungency. These qualities do wonders when added to a dish like this, all without the sour. I enjoy these high notes, but if you’re looking for a mellower taste, you can find whole yellow seeds, as well.
Cumin and coriander are likely to be more common spices, in the Western household. Coriander seed is just the seed for cilantro (sometimes called Chinese parsley), which is often noted for its soapy taste. Coriander seed, however, has zero of the notoriously zestfully clean taste. The following may sound a bit odd, but it’s the best I’m able to offer. Coriander seed, to me, has all the aromatic notes of the brightly speckled powder that accumulates at the bottom of a box of Froot Loops. But!… without the ludicrously sweet taste and sugar. It’s a highly aromatic and fruity flavor.
Cumin, on the other hand, is another warm, earthy, and subtly bittersweet taste. It’s unquestionably one of my most favorite flavors. All of these contrasting flavors combine to form something special.
While this dish has some exotic tastes to it, it’s actually quite easy to prepare. There’s a quick frying of the spice, then the sweating of the base veggies, followed by a long, effortless stretch of steaming within a covered pot. Open, enjoy the hot cloud of aroma, then serve!
Note: To turn this into a soupy, curry stew, add about 1 cup (140mL) of unsweetened Greek yoghurt to this mixture once the carrots and cauliflower have started to soften. Stir, season, and simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Wonderful spooned over some cauli-rice!
Curried Cauliflower and Carrots (Gobi Gajar)Print Pin Rate
- 1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp brown or black mustard seeds
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh chopped ginger
- 2 large carrots cut into large, bite-sized chunks
- 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper chopped
- 1 large head cauliflower broken into florets
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste
- Before proceeding, make sure your veggies are all chopped and ready to go. We’re going to do a quick frying of the spices, but they will burn very quickly, unless you quickly add some of the vegetables to add water and cool the pot down. Without having the veggies ready, you’re very likely to burn the spices.
- Place a medium to large pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the ghee or coconut oil and let it melt.
- Combine the turmeric, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl and mix them together. Set aside.
- Once the fat begins to ripple in the bottom of the pot, evenly sprinkle the mustard seeds around the bottom of the pot. After a second or three, you should see and hear some popping. Once the popping starts, quickly add the spice blend and stir it in. Literally 1 second later, add the diced onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir this into the pot. Season with a bit of salt, pepper, and a few chili flakes if you’d like a bit of heat.
- Stir and sweat the onion mixture for about 3 minutes. The onions should soften.
- Add the carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers with a bit more salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Stir the mixture, turn the heat to low and place a lid on the mixture. This will steam the ingredients and start the carrots softening. The carrots are a denser vegetable than cauliflower, so we want to get that softening, first.
- After about 5 to 8 minutes, test one of the carrots. It should just start softening, but still be quite firm. Much of this depends on the size of your carrot chunks. Once you determine a noticeable softening, add the cauliflower with a bit more salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Stir the cauliflower in, place the lid back on the pot and allow the ingredients to continue steaming and softening, until the entire mixture is soft and scrumptious. Be sure to stir the mixture about every 5 minutes. The entire process should take roughly 25 to 35 minutes.
- Once the cauliflower and carrots are ready, serve, topped with a nice smattering of cilantro sprigs!
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