What is your super power in the kitchen?
I usually joke that mine is the ability to cook when it’s messy (it’s always messy), but in truth I think it’s that I like to eat. So as I cook, I ask myself, does this taste good? What would make it better? Do I want a finely chopped vegetable here, or big chunks? This description makes my cooking sound more planned-out than it usually is, but I just mean that these are the things that go through my head on the fly. I believe that constantly thinking about the end product and tasting occasionally as I go increase my chances of producing something delicious. (There are plenty of failures too, of course–I’ve been thinking lately that I should start taking pictures of those as well for an Emmy Cooks bloopers reel.)
But this ability to envision the eventual dish fails me when it comes to cuisines that I am less comfortable cooking. Indian food falls into this category, which is why I appreciate starting with a good recipe that will rely less on my intuition and more on my ability to follow directions. So mostly I stick to recipes from Vij’s At Home. But dazzled by the success of that saag paneer I keep making (thank you, Kolpona Cuisine!), I decided to branch out to this aloo gobi recipe from the gorgeous vegan blog v:gourmet. I followed the recipe exactly, except for the splash of cream I added at the end. What can I say? My super power told me to.
This dish plus the saag paneer and rice make a respectable Indian-themed feast for company. And whether or not you’re making multiple dishes, consider making this one a day ahead. The flavor was even better the following day.Aloo Gobi: Saute a chopped onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until softened. Add 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle and pop. Add 1 Tbsp. each peeled and grated ginger and garlic, stirring until fragrant, then add 2 tsp. each ground turmeric and garam masala and 1/4 tsp. cayenne, stirring for one more minute. Add 16 oz. crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp. salt, 1 large cauliflower broken into small florets, and 3 large diced waxy potatoes. Cover and cook, stirring often, until potatoes and cauliflower are tender, adding a little water if necessary to keep everything from sticking. When everything is tender, remove from heat and stir in 1 c. peas, re-covering the pot for a minute to warm the peas. Stir in one small chopped bunch of cilantro, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and (optional) cream.