The other night we re-watched Bend it Like Beckham. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I had watched it since meeting my husband, and I enjoyed it a lot more now that I can speak a little Hindi and I’ve spent enough time around Indians to appreciate the story more.
It was also the first time that I watched the special feature in which the movie’s director, Gurinder Chadha, makes Aloo Gobi with her Mum and Mausi looking on and offering advice. It was hilarious! I loved the advice from the two old aunties: “Cut it smaller…it doesn’t matter.” “No, you have to peel it. Just do it.” Ji haan!
The way Gurinder Chadha makes aloo gobi is similar to our recipe, but I think ours is better. She cut her onions too big, and her gobi too big. She also used way too little garam masala. However, she did have some tips that we’d never tried, such as including minced cilantro stems, and putting the cilantro garnish on and then letting the aloo gobi sit for several minutes before serving. By the time we finished watching, we HAD to have aloo gobi last night.
Here’s how we make it (new tips from Gurinder Chadha included):
One large onion, diced
Three medium potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
One medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 ½ cups tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1 tbs cumin seeds
2 serrano peppers, minced
2 tbs ginger-garlic paste
1 tbs minced fresh ginger, or 1 tsp dried ginger powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbs salt, or to taste
2 tsp red chile powder, or to taste
2 tsp ground coriander
3-4 tbs garam masala
1 small bunch cilantro, stems minced; leaves chopped and reserved
Saute the onion in about 2 tbs of oil until it starts to become translucent. Toss in the cumin seeds and the minced cilantro stems and stir for a couple minutes. Add the cumin seeds and stir. The onions should be golden brown. Add the tomato and stir. It should bubble and become sort of thick like a gravy. Add a little water if it’s splattering too much. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste. Add the dry spices and ginger (except for the garam masala), and stir. Add the potatoes and stir to coat, then simmer for a few minutes. Add the cauliflower. Pour in at least two cups of water, then cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are done, about 20 minutes or so. Add the garam masala near the end, then taste and adjust seasoning. You may need to add a little more water if it becomes too dry. You want the vegetables to be tender with the flavors penetrating through. Add a small handful of chopped cilantro and cover the pan and let it sit for several minutes before serving so the flavors can penetrate even more. Serve with rotis. And don’t forget, it tastes even better the next day!
At the end of the feature, Gurinder Chadha mentioned one of our favorite ways to eat aloo gobi. You take cold aloo gobi and put it between two slices of bread, then cook the sandwich in one of those sandwich maker toasters that presses the sandwich into two triangles. Eat that with some spicy (I like Maggi brand Chatpat ketchup) or plain ketchup for an amazing lunch! This idea is also great with pau bhaji.