I have been in Mumbai for almost two years and in that time I have tasted a variety of the most delicious Indian meals, not really a surprise I guess. I have also attended a private cookery lesson given by the chef at the Taj Lands End Massal Bay restaurant. But I had not had the opportunity to cook anything myself, until this week.
Moving into an apartment, after 21+ months of living in a hotel, finally gave me access to a kitchen. Of course most expats have cooks, but David and I have always liked to buck the trend, and plan to do as much as we can ourselves (I might eat these words in a few months, no pun intended). After looking through a large number of recipe books, I decided to begin with something that sounded easy to prepare, and a dish that we eat quite often, Aloo Gobi.
Aloo Gobi is referred to as a dry curry, originating from Indian, Pakistani and Nepali cuisine. It is a vegetarian dish with the main two ingredients being cauliflower and potatoes, plus a variety of Indian spices. There are numerous recipes, some healthier than others, but I found one that I liked via the website Low Cholesterol Food.com.
To put this plan into motion I needed to go shopping. For my first attempt at cooking I decided to play it safe and head to the Foodhall grocery story at the Palledium Mall. There is a great fruit and veggie market in Pali Hill but I will need to build up my courage to go shopping there. With list in hand, David and I visited Foodhall. Our first obstacle, the names of the spices didn’t always match. Thankfully one of the many members of staff took my list and filled my basket. Notice how many of the spices come in bags or boxes rather than little bottles.
Reading through various Indian cookery books, one thing that jumps out to me is the number and variety of spices that are used in each dish. This Aloo Gobi recipe has 6 spices but some versions I found had many more.
1 head of cauliflower cut into half inch pieces
¾ pound of potatoes, cut into half inch cubes
1.2 tsp of fenugreek seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
salt and pepper
1 tbs oil
1 -2 dried hot red chili peppers
I would like to have shared some more photos of the cooking process but to be honest I was a little anxious when I put the seeds into the hot sizzling oil as I thought I might set the kitchen on fire! Working in this tiny Mumbai kitchen is not quite the same as my beautiful new remodeled kitchen in Houston, but I can make this work.
I think the turmeric gives the finished dish a great color (although my photography skills leave a lot to be desired) Having tasted the veggies as I was cooking this dish I must say that adding garam masala at the end made quite a positive difference to the finished taste. This, and all Indian dishes, go very nicely with a bottle of Kingfisher beer, a local delicacy. If my photography skills would improve a little you would realize just how gigantic that bottle of beer is 🙂 Now I only have to hope that I haven’t poisoned myself as I thought I should be the guinea pig before serving this to David. If all goes well, this could be the start of a new adventure for me!
PS. Do you like my new dishes with the elephants on? I thought they were super cute.