Potatoes and Cauliflower- Bengali Style…

December 2, 2007 at 6:38 AM (Bengali, cabbage, cauliflower, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, India, potatoes, vegetables/ fruits)

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Since I have never beaten either of these vegetables, it stands to reason that they should be joined together then! (yeah, slap me) This popular combination is a classic in many of India’s cuisines, and this particular recipe is a long-time favorite of mine. It must be, I think, as I have so many notes scribbled in the margins around the recipe (yes, I write on the pages of my cookbooks; sometimes just a simple smiley-face to say that I liked a certain recipe; there’s a wide grin to accompany this one!). I haven’t changed anything in the original- oh, wait!… Yes I did, but my lips are sealed. Is it still authentic you might ask? Yes, I think so…


Bengali-style Potatoes and Cauliflower

5 medium-sized potatoes, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3/4-1″ pieces

3-4 T mustard oil

1 head of cauliflower, divided into florettes

1 t ground red chiles

1 t turmeric

1/4 t ground dried ginger

3 small tomatoes, cut into about 3/4″ chunks

1/2 t sugar

salt to taste

2 T water

1/2 t ground true cinnamon

1/2 t ground cloves 

1/2 t ground cardamom

1)Heat the oil over med-high heat, add the potato pieces and fry, turning frequently until lightly-browned (about 10 minutes or so). Remove to a bowl (or place within the lid of your cooking-vessel to save washing a dish).

2)Add the cauliflower pieces to the pan and fry, turning constantly until brown in spots (about 4-5 minutes).

3)Reduce heat to med-low; mix 1 T water into the turmeric, chile, and ginger powders; add to the cauliflower and mix well. Add potatoes, tomato-chunks, sugar, salt to taste, and remaining tablespoon of water.

4)Cover, reduce heat to very low and cook gently until tender (about 15 minutes), stirring once or twice while it steams.

5)Check salt-level; sprinkle the cinnamon, clove and cardamom powders over the top and serve (with plain roti? That would be my preference).



  1. kalva said,

    Nice recipe dear!! Should give it a try!

    By all means! Thanks.

  2. Kaykat said,

    Adding tomatoes to the curry is a great idea – it gives the right amount of tartness.

    Looks delicious!

    It does have a lovely and delicate sweet-sour taste…

  3. Zlamushka said,

    Hey there,

    I have nominated you for this years´s Best Food Blog – Humor category, (http://wellfed.net/2007/11/30/best-food-blog-humor-2/) cause your posts are really funny. Especially the ones with facial masks. Thanx for entertaining 🙂

    Oh my! I am very flattered and honoured that you did so. Thank you Zlamushka!

  4. Meera said,

    Nice recipe!!

    Thanks…but really it is an old recipe dug out and resurrected from one of my vintage cookbooks- one very worthy of passing on I think!

  5. Manisha said,

    He! He! Welcome to the aloo-gobi club!

    I haven’t cooked cauliflower in mustard oil before. No more!

    Pray, where do you source your true cinnamon from? It is mighty expensive compared to the cassia bark we get so freely in the stores and which masquerades as true cinnamon.

    Easy…in Latin-American cooking the difference between the two is distinct and well-known. Check the Mexican grocers for canela suave…though, as a suggestion, buy it from a popular, well-frequented (read:busy) shop: the faster turnover ensures fresher spices, as I have purchased it also from the “international aisles” of the regular grocers and found it to be a bit stale and flavour-pale.

    Mustard oil is lovely stuff, and it is not just for haak anymore! 🙂

  6. musy said,

    Mustard oil makes it super-tasty doesn’t it 😀

    Hehehehe…I’ll never go back to motor-oil now! 😉

  7. Anita said,

    😀 , yes, welcome to the club! You’re right – it wouldn’t be true Bong without the mustard oil! The same for Punjabi, in fact. The recipe is similar I can see, ginger in its dried form, and a ‘garam masala’ put together at the last minute with the ground spices – has got to be good!

    So, you are heavily into potatoes at the moment, it would seem! Bliss. Sleep well! 😉

    Their effect on my blood-sugar is weakened when eaten with a complex carb food like ghobi…in fact, haven’t I read somewhere of pureed ghobi with mashed potatoes? That’d be good I think…though not as pretty as with beets! 😀

    It’s a strange thing with some of the recipes in the older cookbooks: they specify EXACTLY the garam masala formula to use with the dish…but, of course, other formulas could be used.

    What’s this about a Bong? First it’s flatulence on TLO’s, now this?!!! 😉

  8. Cynthia said,

    I take it that the gentle cooking is what helps to make the cauliflower not distintegrate or get too soft?

    I put my ear close to the kettle while it’s cooking, and I hear the gentle hissing and tiny,shallow bubbles from within.

  9. bee said,

    why is everyone eating cauliflower? can someone tell me? i feel like a freak. i don’t eat that veggie very often. yours looks lovely. i like any cauliflower recipe without onions.

    you seem to be having fun with mustard oil.


  10. Manisha said,

    Maybe because as Indira puts it “Good use of cauliflower that’s in season”? You know “eat according to the season” thing? End of November is the end of the growing season for cauliflower in some parts of CO – it’s usually mid to end of October but you can stretch the season if the plant is protected against frost. Or so the Farmers Market guy said some time or the other. But I believe since most of US’ cauliflower comes from CA and it is in season there, that may be why we’re seeing so much of it? And everyone is cooking with it?

    Could be…all I know is that I wish I had bought and frozen some of the purple or gold cauliflower so that I could feel more special! hehehe

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