The original recipe is from the first Indian cookbook I bought - Madhur Jaffrey's "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" - for Sookhe Aloo, or dry potatoes. Although the recipe was for potatoes, when I was growing up they were always combined with cauliflower so that's how I make the dish.
Dry Cauliflower and/or Potatoes
- 7 medium sized potatoes, boiled in their jackets and cooled OR 2 packages frozen cauliflower defrosted OR a combination of the two
- 10 T. ghee
- 1/8 t. ground asafetida (also called hing powder)
- 1 t. whole fennel seeds
- 1 t. whole cumin seeds
- 1 t. whole black mustard seeds
- 12 whole fenugreek seeds
- 3 whole dried red peppers
- 1/2 t.ground turmeric (please buy one that's been tested for lead!)
- 1.5 t. salt
- 1 T. lemon juice (I rarely remember this)
Peel the potatoes and dice them into 1.5" pieces. If you're using fresh cauliflower, break it into florets..
Par-boil the potatoes and cauliflower until 1/2 cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain
In a large saute pan heat the ghee on medium. Add the potatoes and saute until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
If necessary, add a little more ghee to the pan. When very hot, put in first the asafetida, 5 seconds later the fennel and cumin seeds, then the mustard seeds and fenugreek in quick succession. As they begin to change color and pop (about 10 seconds) add the red peppers. As soon as the red peppers swell and darken, add the turmeric, the cauliflower, and salt.
Keeping heat on medium, fry for 10 minutes, turning gently so as not to break the cauliflower. Add the potatoes. Continue to fry for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through and evenly browned. Squeeze lemon juice over and check the salt.
This dish is even better the next day. Reheat for 10-15 minutes in a 350 oven.