Potatoes are possibly the most ubiquitous food. I am yet to hear of any cuisine that never cook with potatoes. And with all that starch, a real comfort food too. There are possibly a million ways to cook potato and i may have tasted a few dozen. In the cities of west bengal in India, and i have lived two years each in two cities, potatoes are used in almost all their meals. During my student days in the city with the longest railway platform, our meals were cooked in the canteen of the student hall of residence, we had very little say over what was served to us. The only choice was eat or don't. (Wow, suddenly makes me realise how much luckier i am now to be able to cook and eat all this variety of meals!) Yes, we did have student body meetings and decide a weekly menu for the next month, but more often than not, the cook would make what he wanted. When confronted, he always had the same excuse - couldn't get the ingredients of the set menu within budget. So he added potatoes!
There were days where we would be served puri with potato curry for breakfast, okra potato curry for lunch, Aaloo bonda (spiced potato fritters) for evening snack and potato egg curry for dinner. Even for a potato fanatic, that's a bit too much starch for one day, don't you think? So much said about potato excess, this curry is still the best combination for all kinds of Indian flat breads. I have recently made two kinds of these flat breads and this curry made the breads taste even more delicious. As promised in my recent posts, here's my recipe for an easy potato curry.
- 2 large potatoes
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 fresh, hot green chilies
- 6-8 small cloves garlic (optional)
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
- salt and red chili powder to taste
Boil the potatoes with half a cup of water. Cutting each potato into 4 and pressure cooking for 3 whistles works great here. Peel and roughly chop into cubes. Heat oil in a 8-10 inch frying pan on medium heat. When hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds. The mustard seeds will be spluttering. Carefully add the green chilies and garlic cloves, if using. Add the chopped onion and curry leaves and stir. When the onions are cooked and transparent, about 3 minutes, add the turmeric and tomatoes.
Cook for a minute until the tomatoes become soft. Now add the potatoes and mix evenly. Season with salt and red chili powder based on how much heat you would like in the curry. You can stop at this point, if you want a dry curry as shown in the first picture. If, like us, you prefer a moist gravy curry to go with the rice and flat breads you can add a half cup of water and allow the curry to simmer on low flame for a further 5-7 minutes. Coarsely mash a couple of potato pieces to thicken the gravy. This step will also allow the potatoes to absorb the seasonings better.
Optional garnishings are a dash of garam masala and fresh chopped coriander/cilantro. Enjoy :-)