Spiced Yoghurted Potatoes

Weekends being what they are, a late lie in… a lazy start, an hour pouring over multiple newspapers cover to cover, over a hot mug of filter coffee, is a norm. Sunday mornings breakfasts as long as I can remember, since childhood, has consisted of Masala Dosa, chutney, sambar and the quintessential gun powder. Once in a while, that rule is broken and we go straight to brunch. Today was one such day.

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What better than starchy potatoes and carbs laden puris for a really indulgent brunch…this is a recipe I evolved from ‘Kadhi Pakodi’ I had during my visit to Rajasthan where most dishes are sans onions and garlic which forms an essential part of Jain cuisine. Kadhi Pakodi, is essentially chick pea fritters in a thin yoghurt gravy, forming part of the larger thali ( a traditional Indian thali consists of large platter consisting of little bowls of multiple vegetable/ meat dishes, dal, accompaniments, rice, rotis / puris and varies depending on which part of India it belongs, season, occasion etc). Here, I replaced the fritters with sautéed potatoes in a mix of whole and powdered spices and instead of a thin gravy and have given the yoghurt an almost sauce like consistency that coats the potatoes beautifully, making it perfect for dipping into with your rotis or puris. I would really recommend you to try this in place of Jeera Aloo or potatoes in the usual onion-tomato gravy. The best part: this is a really quick recipe, with no preparation except for boiling potatoes.

Ingredients

  • Pure Ghee ( Clarified butter) – 4 tbsp ( alternatively you can replace ghee with oil or go half half if you want to go light)
  • Whole Spices – 1 tsp Cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp Nigella seeds, 2 cloves, 1/2 inch Cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves
  • Powdered Spices – 1 tsp each of Turmeric, Red Chilli, Cumin and Dry Mango ( you can leave out the Dry Mango if unavailable)
  • Green Chillies – 2, split and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch pieces ( Optional – depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch finely chopped
  • Potatoes – 4-5 medium sized, boiled till soft but firm and cubed into 1 inch pieces (take care not to overcook the potatoes otherwise they will disintegrate)
  • Chickpea Flour – 2 tbsp
  • Yoghurt – 100 ml whisked with 2 tbsp water
  • Salt to season
  • Fresh coriander – finely chopped

Method

In a medium size wok, heat the ghee / oil until just below smoking point. Add the whole spices in quick succession till they splutter, taking care not to let them burn or get charred, followed by the chopped ginger and green chillies.

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Stir for about 30 seconds and add the cubed potatoes, the dry powdered spices, salt and stir for 3-4 minutes on a low flame till they start to brown around the edges.

While the potatoes are browning, whisk together the yoghurt, chickpea flour with a little water to make a fairly thick and smooth ( without lumps) batter like the one you make for pancakes.  Now, reduce the flame to the lowest setting and add the yoghurt mixture to the potatoes and stir gently with a flat spatula, until the mixture comes up to a gentle simmer and the sauce thickens up nicely to coat the potatoes. At this point, check the seasoning, take care not to break up the potatoes and do not let the sauce boil, as they may split the yoghurt. Switch off the heat, garnish with finely chopped coriander and serve with hot puris or rotis.

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