Alu Gobi with Chinese Cauliflower: A Healthy Fusion
Alu Gobi, a common vegetarian dish cooked in a majority of Indian households. The aromatic flavorsome alu gobi served with fluffy chappatis or steamed rice is a comfort food relished by kids, adults and the elderly generation after generation in India. Yet, potato & cauliflower stir-fry is also enjoyed by other nations. A little digging into the history takes us 8000 years back to South America where potatoes originated.
The potatoes journeyed from South America through Spain, Italy and reached England only in the 19th Century. Every country blended the potatoes with their very own veggies, herbs & seasoning. In between that, the 14th Century traces references of “alu gobi curry” in the cuisines of the affluent Mughal Empire. Mughals were believers of Islam with Turkish ancestry and their non-vegetarian recipes are popular till date. A wide assortment of rich spices and dry fruits came to India along with them. Drawing inspiration from the Central Asian Alu Gobi recipe, the royal Mughal’s chef impressed the royalty with meatless vegetarian curry made with potatoes, cauliflower, and exotic spices! The conjugal of alu gobi and spices made its mark in Indian vegetarian recipes. It has survived through years while the hands cooking them and mouths enjoying the lovely dish have changed.
Recently, a massive global fitness trend has set in where people are well-informed about a healthy diet, regular exercise & healthy mind. People are opting for the vegan and vegetarian diet while cutting down or quitting red meat & other harmful non-vegetarian delicacies. Age old healthy recipes with fresh herbs & spices are restored, cooked at home and enjoyed with family. Alu Gobi is one such ancient recipe flavored beautifully with fragrant spices which are popular for its health benefits.
It is interesting how this vibrant yellow vegetable curry with simple ingredients is packed with tons of nutrients. The gobi/cauliflower is a completely vegan plant-based recipe, made with healthy oils. Additionally, it does not contain any meat, dairy, soy or nuts and is also sugar-free. Cauliflower is loaded with proteins, potassium, and phosphorus. It is a great antioxidant and aids in inflammatory troubles for containing Vitamin K and Omega-3. Furthermore, it aids in blood circulation throughout the body and to digest food. The alu/potato makes the heart strong and the fiber content in potatoes serves to lessen the heart’s cholesterol levels thereby supporting good health. The spices (turmeric, garam masala, cumin, etc.) being used also add their unique nutritional aspects to the alu gobi sabji. Garlic, ginger, and turmeric powder contain medicinal properties. They are added to the curry depending on personal taste preferences. Garlic helps in regulating blood pressure while ginger relieves of muscle pain. Fresh coriander leaves used for garnishing is actually a healing herb.
Indians savor “alu gobi” both as fried and curry versions fitting right into all 3 customary meal times along with odd snacking hours. For an amazing breakfast/dinner, alu gobi is cooked in a slightly dry curry and served with wheat/flour flatbreads. For lunch, it can be rotis or a piping hot platter of rice with a bowl of thick/runny alu gobi curry. The left-over alu gobi curry is dried and stuffed in samosa (an Indian vegetarian deep-fried snack) to be enjoyed with hot green chutney made with fresh mint/coriander leaves. Now, if you have a healthy easy-to-cook alu gobi recipe, where even the left-over’s do not go wasted, it’s a smart decision to cook it at home rather than order at restaurants.
Yes, it’s one of the most comforting Indian recipes prepared and served almost in all Indian restaurants, especially in Northern India. The catch is, restaurant-made alu gobi often lacks in the nutrition content found in homemade alu gobi curry. The generous oil/butter/ghee content, large amounts of ground spices, packaged red chili powder, sugar and extra salt used in restaurant cooking is unhealthy and best avoided. Alu Gobi is an easy hassle-free Indian vegetarian recipe which only needs little spices and fresh ingredients. Furthermore, the best benefit of home-cooked meals is you know the ingredients, use fresh veggies, add spices sensibly and season precisely. Processed veggies and packaged masalas spoil the core natural taste & affect the health. Refined white sugar & butter are high in calories. Therefore, can be eliminated when cooking alu gobi at home. Chemical coloring often used in restaurant style alu gobi is unnecessary & unhealthy as well. A gorgeous yellow alu gobi can be achieved with a pinch of turmeric while few fresh green coriander leaves, green peas, and tomatoes can pop the vegan dish with striking red & green organic colors. Ultimately, extra cash is saved while enjoying a steaming hot healthy flavorful alu gobi right at home.
Many people are unaware of the fact that there are many variants of cauliflower. Broccoli is a well-known variant while Chinese Cauliflower, Purple Cauliflower, and Romanesco Cauliflower are not commonly known. Chinese cauliflower is a great alternative to white cauliflower. Taste wise, Chinese Cauliflower is somewhat bitter when raw but the bitterness goes away when cooked. Comparatively Chinese Cauliflower has a stronger flavor and texture and isn’t as bland as white cauliflower. At times, white cauliflower doesn’t suit many folks causing uneasiness and indigestion. In such cases, Chinese cauliflower can be used as it is a healthier vegetable. Chinese cauliflower is more tender and florets are wide apart. Spices can easily slip everywhere, making every floret flavorful. Moreover, health studies have revealed that each different type of vegetable contains unique vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy body & mind. Thus, including non-routine vegetables like Chinese Cauliflower, broccoli, etc. in everyday diet can help in getting diverse nutrients naturally.
If you have never had alu gobi before, you should definitely try it at home. For, those who want a healthier and yummier alu gobi curry must give Chinese Cauliflower a shot! Its original taste & texture will enhance the flavors of your regular alu gobi curry to an all new level. The same vegetable curry will taste deliciously new. Cook it with your own spice mix and garnish with some fresh green herbs. Serve it to your family and let the unexpected delectably healthy alu gobi curry surprise their taste buds delightfully.
- 1 Chinese cauliflower
- 2-3 medium size potatoes
- 3 tbsp healthy oil as coconut oil
- ¼th tsp pure turmeric
- 1 bunch spring onion or 1 medium onion
- ¼th tsp ginger garlic paste
- ¼th tsp - cumin or cumin powder
- ¼th tsp - black mustard seeds - optional
- Healthy salt as pink Himalayan salt OR sea salt
- 1½ tsp chili powder or chilies of your choice
- 1 tsp - fresh ground coriander powder
- 3 sprigs - cilantro
- Pour oil in a pan. Heat to medium.
- Dice onions, potatoes and cut cauliflower to equal sized pieces. You can use any amount of potatoes versus cauliflower depending on your preference. There is no hard rule. If you are potato lover or low carb seeker, add based on your taste.
- Add mustard seeds to the oil. When they stop spluttering, add cumin and turmeric. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add diced potatoes, stir and close the lid. Cook while occasionally stirring till it is half cooked. When it is half cooked, add green onion, chilies (if using), ginger garlic paste and cauliflower.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add salt, chili powder and coriander powder, mix well.
- Cook for another 10-15 mins till all vegetables are cooked.
- Turn off the stove, garnish with chopped cilantro.