Saturday, December 17, 2005

Simple Dinners: Potato "Song"

Friday nights, I often plan my dinners around finishing stuff from the fridge, getting ready for Saturday (market-day). Last night, a quick peek in the fridge revealed 3 boiled potatoes (left over from a few days ago), some left-over crushed tomatoes, half an onion. Plus some ready-made rotis (Indian flat-breads). One easy recipe jumped to my mind: Potato "song", a Konkani (a coastal region of India) potato curry with a wonderful sweet-spicy-tangy medley of tastes. I have no idea why the curry is called "song"; it is a recipe my Konkani grandmom had taught Anji (our cook) to make, so it would be on the menu often.
This curry uses the simple trio of red chillies-cumin-coriander for its spice base, jaggery (unrefined/brown sugar) for the hint of sweetness, both tamarind and tomato for the tang and cilantro for the fresh note. The result is delicious. I am experimenting with a different way of writing this recipe, breaking it down, so to speak, so maybe it will be easier for readers unfamiliar with Indian cooking to see how a curry comes together. It might make a long list of ingredients seem less daunting. Let me know if it helps or not.
Almost all curries have these 5 components: a main ingredient, a tempering, spices, curry base and garnishes. The different permutations and combinations of ingredients and spices is what makes each curry unique.

Potato Song

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YOU NEED
Main ingredient:

3-4 boiled potatoes, peeled and diced
Tadka (tempering)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, minced
5-6 fresh curry leaves (optional)
Spices:
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
Curry base:
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tbsp jaggery (brown sugar)
Garnish:
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
METHOD:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the curry base and set aside.
2. Start with the tempering. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and then add all the tempering ingredients. Stir them around so that they flavor the oil, keeping the heat medium.
3. Add all the spices and saute for a few seconds so they toast and release their flavors.
4. Add the potato cubes and saute for a minute.
5. Add curry base, stir around, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Taste and adjust the balace of salt-spice-sweetness-sourness if necessary.
7. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
This curry tastes better if you let the flavors blend for 15-20 minutes after cooking. Enjoy with flatbreads/rotis or steamed rice, with a dollop of pickle and some yogurt.

There: a simple dinner and some good use of left-over bits of food!

12 comments:

  1. This looks like a really delicious meal, Nupur.

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  2. nupur,I really enjoy your blogs,esp the a-z marathi food and the write ups before the recipes.
    But i was especially delighted to see Konkani food featured a couple of times..moog ambat and potato song brought back fond memories of home!.thanks !.and looking forward to more!

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  3. This looks like a simple but yummy dish. Keep up the great work Nupur!

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  4. I found this very interesting.

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  5. Sounds very tasty! Such an interseting post!

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  6. Sounds tasty , will try this today. Could you please post the recipe for Solkadi .
    roshni

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  7. I'm just starting to learn more about curries and the flavors of India, this sounds delicious and will be added to my list of recipes to try.

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  8. Nice, thanks!

    Hi Poornima, yeah, I love konkani food...I made some cucumber pancakes (tausalli) and moongdal-ghassi before, and I think those two are also konkani.

    Hi Anu, glad you liked it!

    Hi Kalyn, thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Rorie, so glad you liked it !

    Hi Roshni, solkadi is coming around for "S" just a few more days :)

    Hi Michele, I'm sure the journey discovering the tastes of India will be a delicious one!

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  9. Hi Nupur! I do like the recipe format - it helps to understand why it is constructed as it is (and maybe... one day... make me feel comfortable improvising). This looks so good!

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  10. This recipe is great. I made twice the amount (doubling everything) and it worked out really tasty.

    Thank you.

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  11. Cathy, Indian recipes are very flexible (unlike the precision requried in the baking that you do!) so don't be afraid to experiment :)

    Hi Nicole, I'm so glad it worked! Thanks for the feedback :)

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  12. Hi. I would like to make friends with people who enjoy indian cookery. I've joined this site (indian cookery) to try to meet some new friends but I wondered if you knew of any other such sites.
    Many thanks

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello!