There's something to be said for the Bengali Sunday breakfast. Several things, in fact. One, it's really a lunch substitute. It's astonishing that people who go through the week eating two rootis for breakfast and a quick sandwich for lunch manage to down two massive meals within hours of each other, but we manage to do it every single Sunday. Yay us.
Second, it usually involves deep-fried floury things, aided almost always by potatoes in various alluring guises. Occasionally, the cauliflower, green peas, brinjal, pumpkin, and seasoned minced fish or lentils (think machher kochuri, daalpuri) makes appearances, and all of them just as fried or heavily spiced.
What with all this oil and potatoes and spices, sometimes my mother (and great aunt, a great champion of this dish) puts her feet down, and refuses to serve anything but this curry with the customary deep-fried, lightly puffed luchis. It needs just two spices, is very light, prepped in ten minutes, and absolutely delicious.
Potatoes, peeled and diced.
Cauliflower, cut into small florets (optional).
Small green cardamom, lightly pounded to crack pod and break seeds.
Breakfast variation: Heat sunflower/canola/vegetable oil in a wok. Turn flame completely down when hot, and add a teaspoon of whole cumin. Give it 30 seconds and add the cardamom. Stir and fry till you can smell the fried spices.
If using cauliflowers, add them now and fry them for a couple of minutes. Toss in the diced potatoes. Turn up flame to medium and stir really well, so the potatoes are completely coated with the cumin-seasoned oil.
Add salt and sugar. Add a 1.5 cups if water. Cover and simmer, checking every few mintes to see if the potatoes are done. Keep as much gravy as you like. Season with a tablespoon of ghee if you like (I strongly recommend it, of course).
Serve it with pearly-white luchi for breakfast.
Lunch Variation: Use kalo jeera (kalonji, nigella or caraway seeds) instead of whole jeera/cumin. Rub the vegetables with a touch of turmeric before adding to the wok. Repeat everything else.
Try it. You'll regret not trying something this delicious and this simple, AND this versatile.