Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Makhanwala-Inspired Chana Aloo Gobi

Chana Aloo Gobi Makhanwala
Chickpeas, Potatoes and Cauliflower in Creamy Tomato Sauce


I'm pretty proud of myself right now. My husband just devoured a pot of curry that I created, and said it tasted like "outside" food (meaning restaurant quality). That's an awesome compliment, coming from him. But, I'm picky too. There are a lot of dishes, as with any cuisine, that I really don't care for. I also don't like following rules. If I don't like some ingredient in a traditional recipe, you can bet I won't be adding it. I'm also very stubborn, so if I'm told something is the "rule" or I "have" to do it a certain way, I can guarantee you I'll take the opposite steps. Every time I cook cauliflower my husband wants to mash it up and put pav bhaji seasonings in, or add garam masala. He's happy, but I'm not lovin' it.

When we order in a restaurant, I usually go for creamier dishes, so I'm assured there won't be too much spice. I also love tomato based sauces with strong ginger flavors, or anything with nuts or fruits. I stay away from chickpeas because I don't care for the texture, and cauliflower dishes sometimes end up too hot to handle. Today, with a fresh head of cauliflower and a well-stocked pantry, I created a dish that both me and my husband enjoyed. By focusing on my favorite ingredients, and compromising on others (a few chickpeas for protein, just a smidge of cumin, no butter), we now have a good base for a recipe to improve upon and grow into our own signature meal. Authentic or not, who cares?

Makhanwala-Inspired Chana Aloo Gobi
(serves 3-4)
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
2/3 C finely diced Onion (spanish or white)
1 large clove Garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh Ginger
2-1/2 Tbsp Yellow Curry Powder
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
1 C Evaporated Milk
1 C Potato, cut into 1/2" cubes, (pre-boiling them for 10 minutes in water)*revised 6/1/10
2 C fresh Tomato, diced (1 for the pot, 1 for garnish)
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 C Cauliflower, broken into very small florets
1/2 C chickpeas, (drain and rinse if canned)
1/2 tsp salt (Iodized, table salt)
1/4 C Almond slices (raw)
pinch of cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Cooked Basmati Rice (plan about 10-15 minutes to cook the rice)
Naan or other Indian flat bread

1. In a stock pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat and add onions. Saute for 5 minutes until translucent and add ginger and garlic. Saute 1 minute and add curry, cumin, turmeric and red pepper. Stir until fragrant and add the milk.

2. Add potatoes and 1 Cup tomatoes, and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in tomato paste and salt until dissolved, and add the cauliflower and chick peas. Cook another 5-10 minutes until cauliflower is cooked through. Add the almonds, and season with cayenne and black pepper.

4. Serve garnished with cilantro and chopped tomatoes, alongside basmati rice and naan.


*Note: thinking about adding more potatoes, and making more sauce next time.


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