A recipe for a wet-style curry with chana (chickpeas), aloo (potatoes), and gobi (cauliflower). It’s a warm and comforting vegetarian meal that’s easy to make vegan.
Consciousness starts just before I’m fully awake. It hovers beneath the eyelids. Before any alarms blare, I’m throwing off the warmth of the covers to contort my body and glare at the clock. Twenty minutes before intended.
This is not satisfying.
I’ve been feeling unbalanced, waking up a bit early, still tired from the previous day. The fabric of me is stretched thin, so thin it’s transparent. I don’t recognize the texture of myself anymore. Am I soft and silky? Brittle and bitter? Do I crack and crumble easily, or do you need scissors and saws to get through the layers?
Do you remember? I don’t.
I stand in the market. Place produce in a basket. A handful of peppers. I hold a bag of whole spices up to my nose and inhale. Where are you?
I force myself to stand in the kitchen. To chop. To turn on the burner and go through the motions.
On the stove, sap simmers. A window is open to let out the steam. The lingering scent of overturned earth drifts through the door. I toast spices in oil, close my eyes, and inhale. The sharp edge of the cumin becomes rounded. The fenugreek leaves brighten the ginger and cardamom. Somewhere in my gut, like spring, I start to remember what comes next.
We started making aloo gobi out of necessity, a dish to fill the stomach when there wasn’t much else to eat, to utilize what we had, to clean the fridge. Now we seek it out, plan for bowls of sauce to be sopped up with rice or oven-baked naan. It’s transformed a bit: the addition of chana (chickpeas) to add extra protein, the method of making the sauce and toasting the spices varying until we landed on the favorite: a mix of different aloo gobi styles borrowing a bit from here and more from there.
The last time we ate this meal we sat outside, the six of us around the patio, the grass green. Today the blades are brown, matted from the weight of winter, but there’s a promise in the air of a spring to come.
Chana Aloo Gobi Masala: Chickpea, Potato, and Cauliflower Curry
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 pounds potatoes (I prefer fingerlings, golden, red, or purple potatoes)
- 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee, butter, or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder (more or less to taste)
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced or 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tahini, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek leaves
- 2-3 small red or green Bird's eye chilies
- 1 15-ounce can drained chickpeas
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 2 tablespoons cream or yogurt, optional
- for garnish:
- fresh cilantro
- yogurt or cream
- Chop cauliflower into 2" pieces. Scrub potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Heat neutral oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Sear cauliflower and potatoes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add in the additional butter or coconut oil. Over medium to medium-low heat, stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add in the onion and continue to cook until translucent. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tahini, garam masala, fenugreek, and the whole chilies. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add in the cauliflower, potatoes, and the chickpeas, and then stir in the water or stock. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes and cauliflower are cooked through. Stir in cream, if desired.
- Serve over rice or with naan for soaking up some of the sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro, radishes, and extra cream or yogurt.
I can’t believe it’s already been a month. Eat Seasonal is here again, and we’re nearly to spring. Here’s what we’re making as we wait patiently for spring and all its verdant glory to arrive.
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