Sunday, May 7, 2017

Potato Soang

A simple meal is all I crave. After a day of strenuous yard work, I am starving. The prospect of too much chopping and cooking after hoeing and digging is a dismaying thought. What could be faster than boiled potatoes in gravy? It should go with rice as well as roti...everyone's pleased.

I plan to make a Manglorean style potato in thick gravy. My nearly bare cupboard has one Russet and one Yukon gold. Not sure how that will turn out. Peeled and chopped into large chunks, I let the potatoes boil till almost done. I soak some tamarind in hot water and pour off the thick sauce that ensues. Onions saute with chiles in oil. Thick tamarind pulp is added and the sauce bubbles for minutes. Boiled potatoes go into spice flecked oil. Water is added to make a soupy gravy. As they bubble, I can't wait to see how the two varieties will cook up. 

Serves 4

2 large Potatoes 
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Onion
1 dried Red Chile
1/4 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon Urad Dal or split black gram
1/2 teaspoon Chile powder
1/4 cup Tamarind pulp (see notes)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
A few Mint leaves

Peel potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Place them in a saucepan, cover with water and add a large pinch of kosher salt.

Place saucepan over heat and boil potatoes till almost cooked, 10-12 minutes. Drain and keep warm.

Peel and chop onion finely.

Heat canola oil in another deep saucepan.

Add dried red chile, mustard seeds and urad dal to hot oil. Let the spices sizzle for a few seconds.

Add onions and saute for 5 minutes till they are tinged brown.

Add chile powder to oil. Stir so chile powder doesn't burn.

Add tamarind pulp to onions.

Scatter potatoes over onions. Stir so potatoes are coated with masala.

Season with salt.

Add 1/2 cup water to potatoes. 

Bring potatoes to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes on a low fire, stirring occasionally.

Garnish with mint leaves and eat with rice or roti.


Make tamarind pulp by soaking a golf ball sized portion of dried tamarind in 1 cup warm water for 10 minutes. You could also zap the tamarind and water for 10 seconds in the microwave to help it along. Squeeze the soft pulp with your fingers and extract as much pulp as you can. Add more water if needed. Discard the tamarind seeds and fibrous portion, keeping only the thick pulp.

You could buy a bottle of tamarind pulp. Dilute the pulp and use as needed.

I love the way the potatoes cook. Yukons hold up so well in the gravy, while the Russet melts ever so slightly giving the gravy a thick consistency. I may use this trick more often. The spicy sour taste complements bland white rice. The boys enjoy their potato and roti pairing as well. And thus ends another risky day in the kitchen.