Pantry Workout- Aloo Gobi from Marc @NoRecipes

This is the thing about the great big wonderful world of blogs– are you listening? Blogs can open you up to a whole great big wonderful world!

Yesterday I was over at No Recipes. He posted a delicious and very Marc looking Aloo Gobi, which is an Indian dish of spiced cauliflower with potatoes. Something about it hit me just the right way. So I decided right then that I would make it for lunch– immediately.

This is not the type of thing I usually cook. In fact this is the kind of thing I usually reserve for restaurants. It’s not that I can’t cook food like this. I just proved (at least to myself) that I can. But for some reason I just don’t but I guess that is a question between my pantry and me.

Speaking of my pantry, my pantry gets a lot of the credit for the success of today. I keep my pantry in tip-top shape. You never know when it’s going to get a strong work out from a difficult challenger. This Indian spiced dish is a perfect example of the kind of preparedness I am talking about because I was able to read Marc’s post and look at his pictures and start right in on cooking my version with in a few moments. So I am pretty proud of that fact.

aloo gobiI reproduced Marc’s recipe here for you word for word. So the “recipe” part is fully creditable to No Recipes– there is an irony there that I am sure Marc has to deal with all the time. So I’ll just note the irony and move on.

Because in true No Recipes fashion I used this recipe as a road map in making the Aloo Gobi you see in the pictures here today. I’ll let you in on a little secret, the strength of my pantry does not lie in the fact that I have every single thing I could EVER need tucked away inside. Would were it so. Instead I have enough things from enough broad categories to make this dish with the ingredients that I had on hand. So it’s true I had to make a few substitutions and altered a few things to the way I cook.

I used less pungent yellow mustard seeds in place of Marc’s very authentic black mustard seeds. To make up for the lack of pungency I added a few caraway seeds. Good caraway seeds from South America, which may be different than the variety you are used to.

As I said I don’t cook Indian very often, so I did not have any garam masala– but a bit of extra cumin in the form of powder, some excellent smoked paprika and a touch of cinnamon made up for that fact.

Also, I canâ’ add fragrant spices to a pan of hot oil with out balancing all the spice with a little sweet. I just can’t. Marc suggested honey. But I used a big scoop of left over, very caramelized onions instead.

I think Marc would be ok with these changes. After all, I become acquainted with his excellent blog when I heard him interviewed on NPR. I liked his whole No Recipes approach. Because despite the fact that I have a blog and I am passing out recipes on an almost daily basis (many of them original) mostly I cook by the seat of my pants and then make it all sound well planned and intellectually well developed!

Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Aloo Gobi serves 4 CLICK here for a printable recipe


  • aloo gobi2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1 t whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t whole cloves
  • 1 T grated garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 T grated ginger (about 1″ knob)
  • 2 medium onions minced
  • 1 chili minced (i used a habanero but if that’s too spicy you can use a serano chili)
  • 2 t garam masala
  • 1/2 tumeric
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 2 t honey (or vegan sugar)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 c green peas
  • cilantro hand torn (for garnish)

Heat heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until very hot and add the oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin and cloves and stir until the spices begin to crackle. Add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant then add the onion. Fry this mixture until the onions are soft and just starting to turn brown, then add the chili, garam masala, turmeric, salt, honey, water and potatoes.

Cover and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, add the cauliflower and cook until everything is tender, another 30–40 minutes. Add the lemon juice and peas at the very end and serve the Aloo Gobi garnished with cilantro alongside some basmati rice and raita.


Greg Henry