It’s been a while since we made an Indian dish for dinner. Now, we won’t try to fool you into thinking that this is authentic Indian cuisine. We just don’t have the spices, tools, or ability to make authentic Indian food. It’s a real skill, and we always notice that our Indian dishes are lacking, when compared to really good Indian restaurants. But, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a tasty, filling, and easy dish, because it is. And, anyone can make it.
We started making Indian-style food several years ago, and, most of our recipes, including this one, are based on recipes that we picked up from one or more of Madhur Jaffrey’s books. Her recipes are straightforward and simple to follow, and invariably turn out well. At least, we’ve been happy with them. This recipe is based on a recipe for Chana Masala, which we wrote up years ago.
One thing that’s nice about this recipe is the relatively short list of spices, which means that you’re more likely to try it. Spices are really expensive at supermarkets, but we’ve found that, if you go to a local ethnic market, the spices come in bags, and are a lot cheaper. We also happen to like buying spices at Penzey’s market; their prices are pretty good, too. Watch the amount of cayenne pepper carefully, as it’s quite spicy. We know from experience! Finally, we normally serve something like this with Basmati rice and Chapatis. Both are easy to make and help round out the meal.
Procedure in detail:
Cook potatoes. You could pre-cook the potatoes in a saucepan, but why? You’ll just dirty up a saucepan, in addition to the skillet you’ll need later, anyway. So, place the pieces of potato in a large skillet and cover with salted water. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, which will cook the potatoes about halfway through.
Add cauliflower. The cauliflower should also be pre-cooked, but this won’t take as long, and that’s why we started the potatoes earlier. Add the cauliflower to the potatoes, stir, and, once again, cover, and let simmer for about another 10 minutes. Both the potatoes and cauliflower should be perfect. Check ’em, though, by piercing with a sharp knife. If they’re still hard in the middle, let everything go for a few minutes more. Once done, drain and set aside.
Cook onions. Place the skillet back over medium heat (no need to clean, yay!) and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let sizzle for about a minute (we forgot to add the cumin seeds, so you won’t see them in our dish). Add the onions and garlic, then stir and fry just until the garlic begins to brown, about a minute. Don’t let it brown too much, as it’ll turn bitter; just a touch of brown is perfect.
Add spices. Stir in the ginger, coriander, cayenne, and turmeric. Just a quick stir to coat the onions is sufficient.
Add tomatoes. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Once the tomatoes are simmering, add the drained potatoes and cauliflower.
Simmer. Reduce heat and let everything simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Finish and serve. Taste and add salt as needed, stir in the garam masala and lime juice, and serve with basmati rice.
This is a fast and easy Indian-style dish. We say Indian-style because it’s definitely not as good as what we can get at local Indian restaurants. That said, it’s still quite tasty, although ours had a bit too much cayenne — whoops, need to watch that — making it pretty spicy. Even so, we’ll give it four stars.