Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 16, 2017
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Gingered tomato-curry potatoes (Aloo tamatar bhaji)

These potatoes are full of rambunctious spice and tangy tomato; they’re golden with turmeric and fragrant with garlic and ginger. Breaking the potatoes rather than mashing or slicing them gives a delightful texture. The variety of sizes means that each piece of potato has absorbed differing amounts of flavour, making each bite unique. This dish is good both hot or cold.

1 lb. (500 g) small new potatoes, such as Jersey Royals, Pink Fir Apples or creamers

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) turmeric

several large pinches sea salt, preferably coarse grain or flaked

5-6 tbsp. (75-90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tbsp. (22.5 ml) fresh ginger, chopped

6-8 garlic cloves, chopped

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

2 tsp. (10 ml) yellow or black mustard seeds

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) whole cumin seeds

large pinch of ground coriander

pinch of asafetida

medium-sized to large pinch of red pepper flakes

4-6 large ripe tomatoes, grated over the large holes of a box grater

pinch of ground cumin

3 tbsp. (45 ml) cilantro, chopped

Boil the potatoes in their skins until they are just tender, drain and set aside. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes, then break them up coarsely into 3 or so pieces with a fork. Toss the broken potatoes with the turmeric, using a little more than called for in the recipe, if needed, to turn the potatoes a golden yellow. Season to taste with salt.

In a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, shallots and mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop a little, then sprinkle in the cumin seeds, coriander, asafetida and red pepper flakes.

Add the tomato and cook the mixture over medium heat until it makes a sauce. Gently add the potatoes, and toss them in the tomato mixture until well combined. Continue to cook down until the tomatoes turn into a thick sauce that clings to the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and sprinkle with ground cumin.

Serve warm, or at room temperature, sprinkled with the chopped cilantro. Serves 4.

Variation: To make aloo methi, add a bunch of methi leaves (fresh fenugreek leaves that you can purchase at a farmers’ market or an Indian, Bangladeshi or Pakistani grocery), coarsely chopped, to the potatoes after you’ve combined them with the tomato mixture, and cook for about 15 minutes.

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