New York City is damn expensive. This isn’t breaking news to anyone really, but I thought I should point that out, given that I write a blog with “NYC” in the title and happen to live in the most expensive city in the US.
And that’s verified by the way. In a recent report, Manhattan came in as #1 in with a cost of living index of 225.4 against a national index average of 100.
Given the price tags that often make me blink twice or cause a sudden wave of nausea to wash over me, I find ways to get creative with saving a buck here and there. This is where my kitchen and I become best friends.
I’ve experimented plenty with various gluten-free and paleo recipes in the past year, and those were all fantastic. But sometimes that gets a bit pricey too. One of the things I love about Meatless Mondays is that it gives my wallet a break by encouraging me to shop for produce in season and avoiding expensive meat, especially since I tend to go for leaner, pricier cuts.
The upside to living in New York (yes, there’s a plus here too, even though this place makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes), is that given the close proximity to so many different cultures, I can often try cooking different cuisines because I have the ingredients handy.
So I thought I’d give my favorite Indian vegetarian dish a try; Aloo Gobi. It’s healthy, with nutritious additions like cauliflower and tomatoes; it’s hearty and filling; and it’s really, really delicious. :-)
I’m actually amazed at how easy this was to pull together, and also how fast. It was done in under 30 minutes! Plus the best part is that you can make a big batch, and have some leftover for a few days, which is great because the flavors really start to meld and intensify over time too.
Oh and in true budget cooking fashion, I was very pleased to see that this all came in at under $10. Do yourself a favor and invest in some spices. Some of them may cost a bit depending on what’s available in your area, but they’ll add so much depth to your dishes. It’s worth the cost in the longterm.
serving 4; serving size, approx. 1 cup
- ½ large cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 2 medium yukon potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
- ½ large white onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp of ginger, peeled and minced
- ½ bunch of cilantro, stalks chopped separately from leaves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp chili powder (or chopped fresh green chilis if you prefer)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tbsp coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup of water
1. Melt coconut oil in a large non stick pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cumin seeds to the pan and cook until the onions soften and become translucent. Then add the turmeric, coriander, salt and chopped cilantro stems and mix well.
2. Add the tomatoes, garlic and ginger and cook with the onion mixture for a few minutes.
3. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, and water. You want to be sure the veggies are coated in the curry sauce so mix everything together well. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Allow it to cook for approx. 20 minutes or until the cauliflower and potatoes are fork tender.
4. Remove lid and add garam masala and chopped cilantro leaves. Stir and taste for seasonings; adjust as necessary. Then you’re done! Serve while warm.
I served this alone with no trimmings, but this would be great with some fresh whole wheat naan or chapati bread, brown rice, or if you really love cauliflower, then go for cauliflower rice as well.
(Note: Recipe adapted from Chuck Darwin at Food.com)
What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?
Do you have a vegetarian recipe to share?
As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! :-)