Aloo Gobi

Play with your food! Aloo Gobi

DSCN1482(recipe follows)

A classic Indian dish, Aloo Gobi is cauliflower and potato cooked with regional variations on spices. Here it’s presented in phyllo dough which has been rolled over a hollow cylinder of wax paper and foil. After baking, the foil is removed for a flakey shell to fill. Here, I placed the Aloo Gobi at either end with several chunks of lamb in the center.



Strudel/Phyllo dough stretched thin.


Notice the coloring in the dough on the cylinder. Those are spices.

Phyllo is traditionally rolled with butter between the layers. To keep with the Indian theme I used melted ghee and in the variations olive oil, canola, or no fat at all.


You can see the the spices between layers. The browning was determined by the fat. The brownest cylinder has no additional fat. The one on the far right uses ghee. The two on the left use oil.

You can see the the spices between layers. The browning was determined by the fat. The brownest cylinder has no additional fat. The one on the far right uses ghee. The two on the left use oil.

If you look closely the four cylinders presented here, you’ll see variations in color. To see what flavors I could bring into the dish I sprinkled various spice mixtures between the layers as I rolled. In other recipes I used dried powdered spinach or tomato. When broken each of the shards is a nugget of flavor and the contents spill onto the plate, which you can see below.

DSCN1473Tier one (you must use)

  • 2 Potatoes, peeled and cubed to bite sized portions
  • Cauliflower cut into bite sized florets (typically equal to the volume of potatoes)
  • Flavorless oil or ghee (to cook the spices)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Cumin (common to all recipes)
  • 1 Onion (or replace with hing/asafoetida**)
  • Up to 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste (or replace with hing/asafoetida**)
  • Red and green chilies (to taste)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • salt (to taste)

Tier two (suggested)

  • 1/2 cup fresh or canned tomatoes
  • Fresh lemon or lime juice (to taste)
  • Hing/Asafoetida (used in place of onion, ginger, garlic)

Tier three (optional)

  • Additional spices: 1 Indian bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds (used at beginning to flavor the oil)
  • Bitter herbs (1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves or amchoor powder can be used to give the dish bitterness. You would use one or the other, not both.)
  • Fresh coriander leaves (to garnish)

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 1.18.55

Method: Heat ghee or oil in a pan and add the bay leaf and mustard seeds then the cumin. When the cumin pop add hing then immediately after the onions to cool down the pan and prevent the spices, especially the hing, from burning. Cook until the onions are well browned or continue cooking until the oil comes out then add 1/4 cup of water (see note) and repeat up to six times.

Add ginger/garlic paste, chilies, turmeric, and bitter herbs (fenugreek leaves or amchoor). Add tomatoes or 1/4 water which lowers the heat preventing the spices from burning. Scrape the bottom of the pan with your spatula to make sure nothing is stuck to the pan. Add the potatoes, mix well so the potatoes are coated, cover and cook for five minutes.

Add the cauliflower and mix. If the bottom of the pan has no moisture, add up to 1/4 cup of water before covering. Cook five to ten minutes more until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Add the coriander, cumin, and garam masala. Remove from heat.

When ready to serve garnish with fresh coriander and lime (or lemon) juice.

Note: Restaurant quality Indian food uses a technique of cooking the onions until they release the oil at which point you add in a ladle of water and cook it down again until it releases the oil. You’ll do that five to seven times. Each time you’ll notice the paste gets darker and darker as caramelized residue in the pan dissolves back into the mixture. This technique also breaks down the cell walls of the onions to give the end sauce a better texture.

** Some people do not eat onions, garlic, or ginger. In place they use hing/asafetida


10 Comments on “Play with your food! Aloo Gobi

  1. This looks delicious, I love that you are sharing so many ethnic flavors on this blog. Thank you also for recently liking my recipe post on Salt and a Smile blog, hope you visit again soon!


    • Thanks.

      What’s especially nice about it is the added texture, crunch, and flavor are there. You can enjoy it you can eat it, if not just put it to the side.


  2. Hey this looks great. Would you recommend using that technique for onions in home cooking? Or is it not worth the effort?


    • Which technique? The Indian way of caramelizing, or the filo dough?

      The Indian way of caramelizing doesn’t develop the sugars the way a slow caramelizing will. The purpose is to bring the flavor back into the dish, hydrate the onions, pull flavor from the spices, and create a cooler environment for when you introduce the garlic/ginger. I’ve never done it for other cooking, please tell me your results if you do; however, my best guess is sweetness will be missing. When you making Indian food, this is a technique which will raise the level of your dish.


What's that you say? I can't quite hear you. Do you mind writing that down here? ;)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: