From raging reds to flaming yellows, Springy greens to pristine whites, the colors of Indian food are as much a feast to the hungry eyes as they are to the discerning nose and desirous taste buds. Red hot chilies and turmeric, fiery green chilies and fresh coconut, all these ingredients, in distinct combinations and permutations, or as stand alone bases for gravies and sauces, lend their striking and mellow flavors all the same to the entirety of a recipe, enhancing the tastes of vegetables and meats and making them much favored and sought after. While there could be scores of uses for each of them, we went with the Pickling Spice/ Achaari flavors to wallop the mundaneness out of the time-tested everyday side dish: Aloo Gobhi. The slightly tangy, mostly spicy masala makes this recipe a hit, even with the undertone of the mildly bitter methi/ fenugreek, which, to be sure, is actually what rounds this dish off.
Achari Aloo Gobhi/ Baby Potatoes And Cauliflower In Pickling Spices
- 2 Tablespoons + 1 tablespoon sesame/ til oil
- 1 Teaspoon each: mustard and cumin seeds
- 1/2 Teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 Large onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons garlic paste
- 1 Medium-sized cauliflower, cut into florets and soaked in warm water with a bit of salt, for 5 minutes.
- 10-12 Baby potatoes, peeled (and microwaved with a sprinkling of water for 1-2 minutes, 30 seconds at a time)
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt to taste
- 1 Teaspoon red chilli powder
- 2 Tablespoons pickling spice powder (see below)
- 1/2 Teaspoon garam masala
- 1 Teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 Teaspoons vinegar
- 2-3 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped green onions or chives for garnish
Warm the 2 tablespoons oil in a pan/ kadhai, and add the mustard and cumin, followed by the turmeric, once they crackle. Add the onion, fry for a minute or so, then add the garlic paste. Drain, pat-dry and toss in the cauliflower florets and fry for 4-5 minutes on a low-medium flame. Then add the potatoes, tomato paste, salt, stirring well to mix everything in. Add the masala powders and mix well so they coat the vegetables thoroughly. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, stir well, and finally add the water, cover and cook on a low flame for 8-10 minutes. Garnish with the green onions/ chives and serve hot with rotis.
Pickling Spice Powder
- 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 Tablespoon lightly roasted fenugreek/ methi seeds
- 1-2 Red Chillies (optional)
Grind the above to a fine powder in your coffee grinder or small blender container. This recipe can be doubled or tripled and the excess stored in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks.