This Aloo Gobi recipe is a perfected version of the standby vegetable side from northern India. While it lacks sauce, it is rich enough to be eaten with flat bread. The soul of the dish is the roasted cumin seed element.
1 russet potato like Goldrush (Sieglinde also works well)
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
3 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 to 1 serrano chile, finely chopped (seeded first, for less heat)
1/2 tsp ground, roasted cumin seeds
1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
cilantro leaves (optional)
Boil the potato in its skin. When it is just beginning to soften, remove it to a plate and allow it to cool completely. Peel the potato and dice them into 2cm (3/4″) cubes.
Heat a heavy pan on medium high. When it is hot, add 1/2 to 1 tsp whole cumin seeds, and keep them moving by shaking the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon. They will give off a wonderful aroma when they are done. Remove these to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, and process to a fine powder.
Break the cauliflower into chunks or individual florets around 4cm (1.5″) in size. Soak these in cold water for 30 minutes, then drain.
Put the oil or ghee in a large pan, ideally nonstick. When the oils hot, put in the cumin seeds. They will sizzle. After only 3 or 4 seconds, add the cauliflower. It may sizzle loudly as water on its surface reacts with the hot oil. Stir the pieces for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing them to develop brown spots in places. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan for 4 to 6 minutes, until it is just tender, with some crispness left. Now add the rest of the ingredients, including the diced potato. Stir gently to mix the ingredients and cook uncovered for 3 minutes longer, until the potato pieces are heated through. Garnish with cilantro leaves before serving.