Sunday, June 1, 2014

Aloo Gobi Burritos:

Indian Grub, food Truck Style

My company recently did an event on Treasure Island in San Francisco. We were a vendor amongst many other vendors out to promote our company and meet potential customers. It makes for a pretty long weekend standing on the asphalt for two days straight in the sun and talking to hundreds of people. That feeling of being "on" for several hours at a time can wear a guy down. But it's business and we do what we gotta do. Besides that, it actually was pretty fun and interesting. We met some really cool people from all over, we learned a lot about the island, and we ate some pretty awesome food.

I'm kind of a down-home, back road, greasy spoon, mom and pop type of dude. So when the food truck craze started a few years back, I took to it like baby duck hitting the pond for the first time. I was ready. I was pre-conditioned. It was pure instinct. Luckily, I have one those stomachs that isn't adverse to a little food borne bacteria. The fact of the matter is that I've eaten some pretty rank shit out of some very questionable food trucks in my day and came out smiling and looking for more. I've paid my dues.  

I come from the era where if you ate a taco off of one of these rolling cesspools, you'd better plan on an afternoon on the porcelain throne doing a lot of paperwork. But there were always the diehards. The dudes that loved those tacos so much that they sacrificed their very own health just for that flavor. An assumed risk, as it were. They pressed on in the face of adversity. There are those that have survived Everest. And there are those who have survived, at the time, largely unregulated food truck cuisine. I was one of those dudes. That's where I developed my roach coach chops. It was like a boot camp for my immune system. It has helped mold me into the man I am today. 

Oh, but times have changed. Now food trucks are a dime a dozen. And because of the fierce competition, their street cred is everything. I'll say it again...everything. Your food better be top notch (especially at $9 a burrito, you treacherous bastards) and you better not have your customers doing too much paperwork. Nobody likes paperwork. Prime example: there was a buzz going around the event to stay away from a particular truck, who shall remain nameless, because the last time, several people got sick and had to go to the hospital. It had even found it's way into the Yelp reviews. Done. Street cred set back to zero.

That being said, the modern day street grub is much safer than it was back when I was eating mystery meat burritos off the plain white truck in the middle of a, shall we say, less than desirable neighborhood.  And on this particular occasion, I had the pleasure of having a aloo gobi burrito. I was instantly aflutter. You might even say giddy. I giggled like a school girl until I realized I was in close proximity to other people at which point I fake coughed and pretended I had something in my throat. I knew I had to do it myself. And so I did. Please enjoy.... 

Tip: Practice "mise en place" with this recipe as the first part goes quickly. Having all your ingredients prepped and ready to go prior to cooking will save you from the possibility of burning you ingredients/spices.  

Tip: This dish isn't traditionally served as a burrito. So don't feel obligated to put it in a tortilla. It's just as good by itself. 

Tip: This one has a little bit of a kick. If you don't like too much heat, cut back on the serranos and cayenne.  

Aloo Gobi Burritos


  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, finely minced or grated
  • 2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 Tbsps peanut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing (Asafoetida)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 small serrano peppers (chopped)
  • 1/2 large or 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 4 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves (from about 6 sprigs)
  • 5 large burrito sized tortillas


1. Combine the garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and water in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. 
2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over a medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Toss a cumin seed in. If is sizzles, it's hot enough. Then add the cumin seeds and hing. Stir for a minute until the seeds begin to slightly darken. 

3. Now add the bay leaves and the peppers. Stir for a minute and then add the spice/water mixture. Continue to stir until the oil and spice begin to separate, about one minute. 

3. Add in the cauliflower, potatoes, salt and a 1/4 cup of water. Stir to coat the cauliflower and potatoes. 

4. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes making sure to stir every 3-4 minutes.  If it gets too dry, just add water to prevent burning. Keep in mind this isn't a "saucy" recipe. It's supposed to be moist but not in a sauce.   

4. Finally, add the amchoor powder and the cilantro and stir to combine. Let stand for a few minutes for the amchoor to combine.

5. Heat a tortilla until it's nice and warm and pliable. Fill with 1/4 of the aloo gobi and wrap like a burrito. Repeat to make all 4 burritos.

Serves: 5