Peak winters demand a heart-warming curry with loads of warming spices, slight kick and heat from the chilies. This Achaari Paalak Gobhi ticks all those boxes and is packed with tons of nutritional goodness.
When one thinks of winter veggies, a myriad of colours pops into our minds. For instance, Carrots, peas, methi, spinach are some of my personal favourites. Another family favourite though not as colourful is the cauliflower. It usually makes it to our meals a few times a week in the winters. Being a versatile vegetable, the cauliflower or gobhi can be served in the form of curries, stir-fries, and grilled. When one is eating a vegetable so often, repeating the same old recipes sometimes gets a tad too boring, don’t you think so?
How the Dish Came to Be?
To be honest, I started to prep for the usual curry. The plan was to mix some carrots with spinach instead of the staple potato or peas. That is when my eyes fell on the bottle of shredded (mashed) mango pickle. I had carried it from India a couple of months ago. Not everyone in the family is a big pickle fan like me. Hence the bottle was still sitting half unfinished. As I stood chopping the spinach, I made a mental note to eat the pickle more often. In the next moment, it occurred to me – why not use the pickle in the cauliflower curry? After all tangy “Achaari” versions of a lot of vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries are extremely popular. And just like that, this curry happened.
I highly recommend not going easy on the green chilies as the heat complements the sourness from the pickle perfectly and makes the taste much better.
Step By Step Achaari Paalak Gobhi Recipe
1. Prepare all ingredients – blanched spinach, coarsely chopped tomatoes, green chilies squared onions and pickle.
2. Blend all prepared ingredients except onions; then heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, bay leaf, star anise, green chilies. When seeds start to crackle, add onions and cook till translucent, then add powdered spices-turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, and red chili powder and roast for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add potatoes and steamed cauliflower and cover and cook till 70% done. Then add carrots and peas and cover again on a medium flame for another 5 minutes or so. By this time all the veggies would be cooked through. This is a good time to add the prepared spinach-tomato-pickle mixture and salt and let the entire mixture simmer for another 5 minutes drizzle some cream if desired.
4. Serve hot with steamed rice or hot phulkas.
- Cauliflower (florets separated and cut to desired size)- 2 cups
- Medium-sized Potato (cubed)-1
- Carrots (chopped into small cubes)- 1/2 cup
- Green Peas- 1/2 cup
- Blanched Spinach(cooled to room temperature)-1.5 cups
- Green chilies-2 (optional)
- Tomatoes (coarsely chopped)-1 cup
- Onion (medium sized, cut into squares)-1 cup
- Mango Pickle pulp- 1tbsp
- Bay leaf-1
- Star anise-1
- Cumin seeds-1 tsp
- Coriander powder-1/2 tsp
- Cumin powder-1/2 tsp
- Garam Masala- 1tsp
- Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
- Red Chilli powder-1/2 tsp (optional)
- Salt-1/2 tsp+1tsp pr as per taste
- Whipping cream-1tbsp (optional)
- Mustard oil or any other cooking oil of choice-1.5 tbsp
- Heat water in a deep bowl and add cut cauliflower florets with 1/2 tsp salt and let it sit for 15 minutes the. drain and keep aside
- In a blender make a coarse paste of blanched spinach, tomatoes , mango pickle pulp and one green chilli and keep aside
- In a thick bottomed deep wok, heat oil and add cumin seeds, bay leaf and star anise, green chili,lower the flame to medium once the seeds start to crackle and spices start to release their aroma
- Add onions and sauté till translucent, the add all the powdered masalas(turmeric powder, coriander, powder, cumin powder and garam masala) and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes with constant stirring till the spices are roasted and fragrant
- Then add potatoes and steamed cauliflower florets and cover and cook on a medium flame with intermittent stirring till 70% done
- Add carrot and peas and give the mixture a nice stir and cover and cook further for another 5 minutes. If you feel the wok is getting dry and the veggies are sticking to the base, you could add a few tablespoons of water and cover.Keep the flame to medium low at all times
- After 5 minutes or so the veggies should be almost done, then add the pureed spinach-tomato-pickle mixture and mix all the ingredients well
- Add salt,cover and simmer for another 5 minutes, drizzle some cream if desired and serve hot with steamed rice or roti