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.
Tofu/paneer (optional)
Coriander and cumin--powdered.
Red chillie powder OR red chillies coarsely chopped.
Garam masala (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves)--freshly ground or ground at home.
Whole milk.
Sugar, salt.
Ghee or vegetable/canola/sunflower oil.
Green chillies (optional)

How to:

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!


Dea-chan said...

OMG MUST MAKE. Damn Rimi, you make lots of potatoes!


Rimi said...

It's very East European of me, I'm told :P

We should meet up. I'm just being unsocialble and staying at home, all cooped up and friendless :-(

Diviani said...

oh i make these in exactly the same way, even the milk! i didn't know anyone else who uses milk! i always get the smallest potatoes i can find and don't peel them. but what's ground coriander and does it come in those little dried spice bottles? as coriander substitute i often use this nice hot dhaniya chutney that's stocked at the indian store, or the goya cilantro base or when i have them, the leaves themselves. i also tend to automatically use garlic every time i use onions, so that's another ingredient that's sometimes there. oh and i never have fresh chillies, so i make do with capsicum and bell peppers. this is the best comfort food ever, and for a long time, the ONLY veggie dish i liked and would turn out well no matter what.

Rimi said...

Coriande is dhone guro. You buy coriander/dhania seeds and put them through a mortar-pestle or coffee grinder( available for about ten bucks). At home Shobhadi grinds it on the sheel-nora, or we make batches in the mixie. Usually, I use cumin:coriander in a 2:1 ratio for anything I cook. And I use fresh coriander leaves (or cilanro, as they say here) as garnish wonly.