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Aloo Cauli

Long time ago when Sera and I moved in to our first flat in Kathmandu, Nepal was hit by the mother of all monsoons. Kathmandu’s only road link to India was washed away leaving the valley stranded without food or fuel. We became dependent on rationed supplies flown in by the Americans in gigantic transporter planes.  Watching transfixed as the planes dodged the hills to land at the tiny airport and marvelling that they could stop before the runway ended in a sheer drop.

Two things that were in plentiful supply were potatoes and cauliflowers and for 2 months we cooked them in every way you can imagine from soup to barbecue. This was our favourite go to recipe and one that, when our fuel rations were running low, we ate cold spooned on to steaming hot rice. 

We still love this recipe and I have to confess to secretly eating the curry cold.  So wrong, but really good.

Serves four as a side dish, 2 as a generous main

275 g | 9 oz cauliflower florets plus a few of the leaves
275 g | 9oz waxy salad potatoes
80 g | 2½ oz shallots
2 cloves of garlic (approximately 10 g)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger (approximately10 g)
1 green finger chilli (optional)
1 large tomato
120 ml | ½ cup rapeseed or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Panch Puran
1 ½ teaspoons Yak Yeti Yak masala
1 teaspoon salt
400 ml | 1½ cups water


Break the cauliflower florets into roughly equal sized pieces
Peel and cut the salad potatoes into bite-size pieces
Peel and finely slice the shallots from root to tip
Peel and finely sliced the garlic
Finely slice the chilli
Finely sliced the ginger into rounds and then across each round into small matchsticks
Roughly chop the tomato
Heat a wok or a heavy bottomed pan and add the oil, allowing it to become hot until it's shimmering but not quite smoking.  Add the Panch Puran and chilli. Once the seeds begin to pop, turn the temperature down a little and add the potatoes. Cook the potatoes stirring them for 4-5 minutes until the potatoes are well covered in the oil.  Add the shallots, garlic, ginger and salt and gently fry until the shallots start to turn translucent then add the Yak Yeti Yak masala.  The masala will quickly stick to the base of the pan so once this happens add half the water and turn the heat back up to high, putting a lid on the pan. Boil the potatoes until they are almost cooked and add the cauliflower and tomato. Add more water as needed and continue to cook until the cauliflower is slightly al dente, check for salt and serve.


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