Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes
Untill made this myself in the slow cooker, I refused to believe my mother-in-law when she said it was possible. I also wondered why I wouldn’t just make this dish on the stovetop, where it could sit for less time. After trying it once, I realized the answer: because I can now stick it in my slow cooker and go about my day. I don’t think twice about the kids near the stove or anything burning. My father—the real foodie of the family—also wouldn’t believe this dish could be made well in the slow cooker, so he just had to try it himself. He had me on the phone in excitement for half an hour after trying it for the first time. He insists on the tomato. I like it better without. You be the judge.
Slow cooker size: 4- or 5-quart
To make this dish in a 3½-quart slow cooker, halve all the ingredients and proceed with the recipe. A half recipe makes 4 cups (946 mL).
This spice mix is one of the most common in North India. It includes coriander, cumin, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can purchase the spices already ground or buy a packet of all of the above combined but left whole for you to grind later. If you grind them yourself, remember to balance the amount of each spice used. And be careful, as the whole cinnamon can be a little challenging to grind all the way down. Don’t be intimidated to go this route though-I’ve done it and the results are wonderful. In most dishes, the garam masala is sprinkled over the food toward the end of cooking, but I prefer to put it in at the beginning along with the other spices.
Can these recipes be made on the stovetop?
Absolutely. Just keep in mind that when cooking on the stove, you’ll use a quarter more water because liquids evaporate. So, if a slow cooker recipe requires 4 cups of water, use 5 cups when making it on the stovetop. Also, though you can keep your pot at a low simmer on the stovetop, you still always want to keep an eye on it to prevent drying and burning. If food-especially beans and other legumes-starts to dry out, just add more water and continue to cook.
The rule in the land of slow cookers is usually never to open the lid while cooking for fear of losing critical heat and slowing down the cooking process. This may be true, but I have a tough time following the rules myself. Also, there are some dishes, such as Curried Spinach with Homemade Cheese (Palak Paneer), that need to be stirred during cooking. Know that the cooking times cited in my recipes reflect my inability to keep the lid shut, so to speak. Just do your best to limit peeking. A good rule-of-thumb is to add about 5 minutes of cooking time for every time you lift the lid.
7 cups (1.66 L)
Cooking Time3 min
Cooking Time - Text180
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Total Timeunder 4 hours
OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course, side dish
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Taste and Texturesavory, spiced
Type of Dishvegetable
- 1 large cauliflower, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups/1.89 L)
- 1 large potato (russet or yellow), peeled and diced (about 2 cups/473 mL)
- 1 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, diced (optional)
- 1 (2-inch [5 cm]) piece ginger, peeled and
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped, minced, or grated
- 3-4 green Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed, chopped or sliced lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) red chile powder
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) garam masala (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) turmeric powder
- 3 tablespoons (50 mL) vegetable or canola oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon (20 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped
Put all the ingredients except the cilantro in the slow cooker. Mix well.
Cook on low for 3 hours. Mix once or twice during cooking, especially in the beginning. Eventually the cauliflower will release enough liquid to prevent anything from sticking to the sides of the slow cooker.
Add cilantro. Mix well but gently so as not to break up the cauliflower. Serve with roti or naan and a side of onion and cucumber salad.
2010 Anupy Singla