Saturday, 13 March 2010
Aloo-matar (Spicy Potatoes & Peas Stew)
My favourite version of this dish is a slightly drier, spicier version with paneer in it, but I detest the paneer one gets here. I could make my own, of course, but who has the time? Maybe I should try with some tofu next time.
Potatoes, red onions, tomatoes, peas.
Coriander and cumin--powdered.
Red chillie powder OR red chillies coarsely chopped.
Garam masala (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves)--freshly ground or ground at home.
Ghee or vegetable/canola/sunflower oil.
Green chillies (optional)
First, this is how you dice the potatoes:
Now, heat a spoonful of ghee (or some oil) in a skillet. When it melts, add onions. Ghee heats easily, so you don't have to wait for it to sizzle. Toss onions till fragrant. If using tofu or panner, cube them and toss in the cubes. Stir for a few seconds. Now toss in potatoes. Cook till they take on a light golden-brown shade. You might want to add a little more ghee or oil and cover the pot on low flame for a while so that potatoes take on a fried texture.
If using chopped red chillies, toss them in now. Now add the tomatoes. Dig into them with a spatula till they disintegrate. Caution: the water in the tomatoes will make them sizzle, and it's more or less inevitable that a few drops of sizzling hot oily water will land on you. If you're a seasoned cook you won't even notice it, but if you aren't, it's a useful heads-up.
Lower flame to prevent evaporation of the ghee and burning. Add ground coriander, cumin, and red chillie powder. Toss with the vegetables for a few seconds, mixing them well. Add handfuls of peas and toss this well with the rest of the spicy vegetables as well. Now add about half a teacup of whole milk. Stir it in well with the vegetables and spices.
Now add about two cups of water (or more, depending on how much gravy you want). Add salt, sugar and whole peppercorns. Taste. This should be a slightly sweet stew, so adjust the sugar accordingly. At this point I added more tomato slices to make the gravy more tangy--you're welcome to do the same. Now cover and cook, checking back after five minutes to see if the potatoes are done. Add water and fold in if the gravy is drying out.
Finally, sprinkle ground garam masala over the curry and stir it in well. Garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves. It's ready to eat!