Monday, September 19, 2016

Potatoes and Tomatoes with Ginger

After sampling a plethora of restaurants in North Carolina, the desire to eat home cooked is very appealing. I want something simple, a plate of food that is not complicated. Of course I resort to potatoes. Can't resist that call. Comfort foods come in all kinds and sizes, just like people, and mine is unapologetically potatoes. And tomatoes. Cooked together they transport me to my childhood, to happy memories and simple dinner.

I cube a mound of russet potatoes. No....not Yukons...much to my dismay, they don't work well in this dish. But russets dissolve a bit and thicken the gravy adequately. Yukons tend to keep their shape as they cook, leaving the gravy kind of watery. Be the judge of your starch. Use your choice of potato, as they comfort the soul and stomach effortlessly. Mustard seeds splutter along with asefoetida, chiles, curry leaves and ginger. Potatoes are added to the mix and sauteed for a few minutes. This lets them develop crusty edges. Cooked in water till almost done, potatoes turn soft and mushy along with tomatoes and spices and a shock of fresh cilantro. Rice or roti...your choice.

Serves 4

4 Russet Potatoes 
2 tablespoons Canola Oil 
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
A pinch of Asefoetida 
6-8 Curry leaves
3 green Chiles, sliced on a bias
2-3 Ginger slices
1 large Tomato
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric 
1/4 teaspoon Chile powder 
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
3 tablespoons minced Cilantro

Peel potatoes and chop into 1/2 inch cubes.

Heat oil in a deep pan till very hot.

Splutter mustard seeds, asefoetida, curry leaves, cut chiles and ginger slices. Let mustard seeds pop.

Drop potatoes into oil and stir well. Let potatoes saute for a few minutes over high heat till the edges are a little crusty. You do not want to brown the potatoes, just crisp them lightly.

Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add enough water to cover potatoes and bring to a boil.  

Place a lid on the pan, lower flame and cook potatoes till almost done.

Roughly chop tomatoes.

When potatoes are almost done add tomatoes, turmeric, chile powder, sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cilantro. Mix well and once again place lid over pan. 

Simmer for 5-10 minutes until tomatoes are soft and pulpy.

Eat with rice or any Indian bread of choice.

You should eat foods that matter. A big bowl of steaming rice. Potatoes and tomatoes, soft and mushy, emanating a strong ginger fragrance. Fresh cilantro lending an herbal flavor. Nothing wrong with simplicity.