Nepali Style Cauli Aloo is a vegetarian, gluten-free side dish, made with cauliflower, potatoes, and peas. It’s a Nepali recipe inspired by my mom.
My mom makes the best “Nepali Style Cauli Aloo”. I don’t know what she does or how she does it but her Cauli Aloo is one of my favorite dishes she makes. Today is the 3rd day of Dashain(Nepali Hindu festival that celebrated for 15 days), so I am taking a little break from pumpkiny things to brag about my mom’s recipe which I miss a lot, even more so during festivals in Nepal . Cauli Aloo is a one pot vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free side dish that can be made under 30 minutes. I am pretty sure there is more than one way to make Nepali Style Cauli Aloo as everyone has their own recipe.
The recipe + techniques I am sharing today comes from my mom over the phone. Instead of exact measurements and directions, my mom usually tells me ” add a little bit of this…then saute all that (what is all that?) and pressure cook everything quickly (how long mom?) My mom probably gets amused by my lack of natural instincts to cook something as simple as Nepali Style Cauli Aloo.
I am pretty sure she easily picked up from her mom (who probably instructed the same way)…yet my mom patiently listed each ingredients, provided me simple techniques and options to pressure cook vs. on a stove top (she knows I hate to clean a pressure cooker).
Cauli Aloo is best served with florets intact, nicely cooked but not mushy. Do not chop cauliflower into small pieces. You want to break florets with your hand or use a knife to cut them into large pieces as shown above.
Do not be afraid to use oil because you need to cook both cauliflower & potatoes (aloo). A little bit goes a long way…
Pay some attention to Cauli Aloo while it is being cooked, stir them very gently, and shake the pot to prevent squishing.
You may or may not need to add water depending upon how much water gets released during cooking.
I made my mom’s Nepali Style Cauli Aloo twice already this week and I am so happy to tell you that this is very close to my mom’s Cauli Aloo. Obviously, my mom’s version is better but for now, I can live with this. The version I am sharing is cooked on a stove-top but if you want to take the pressure cooker route, I have included the steps in the notes below.
My mom’s notes were extremely helpful to understand why she does what she does..hence, Nepali Style Cauli Aloo was a success. It’s crazy how simple ingredients + proper techniques can create something so delicious in such a short amount of time. If you like cauliflower (or not), I think you should give this Nepali Style Cauli Aloo a try..as a side with rice, daal, and perhaps some chicken curry.
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional but recommended)
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional but recommended)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon cumin powder (add more if needed)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 chili pepper, finely chopped
1 small knob of ginger, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper (adjust as needed)
1/4 cup water (add only if needed, see notes)
cilantro, for garnish
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add fenugreek and cumin seeds until it pops and is fragrant.
Add potatoes to the pot and allow it cook halfway stirring it every minute or so to prevent it from sticking.
Add turmeric powder to the pot and cook for another minute or two.
Add cauliflower to the pot and add the remaining ingredients – green peas, cumin powder, chili powder, ginger, salt, pepper and stir everything.
Lower the heat to low, cover the pot and allow it cook for 3 minutes. After that open the lid and gently shake the pot. If you see water being released, continue to cook it uncovered for a minute or so. Otherwise, add about 1/4 cup water, cover the lid again and cook for additional 3-5 minutes stirring the pot once or twice as needed.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Turn off the heat once cauliflower is fully cooked, it should be tender to touch but not mushy.
Garnish it with chopped cilantro.
For pressure cooker: Instead of a pot, use a pressure cooker and follow all the steps until #4. Once everything is added to the pressure cooker, close the lid and allow it to cook until it whistles once. Leave the lid on for 5 minutes before opening the lid. Each pressure cooker functions differently so please be mindful that results may vary. The goal is to cook cauliflower just enough & not mushy.
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