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Saucy Aloo (Potato)



Potato is one of the most versatile vegetables in a cook's arsenal. And even though potatoes came to India just over 400 years back with the Portuguese and British colonizers, today potatoes have infiltrated the culinary soul of India. Used in snacks such as fritters, street food like chaat, sabjis like a dry and wet sabji, and even a dessert like potato halva, potatoes are a pantry item in Indian kitchens, something that an Indian cook feels incomplete without. Saucy Aloo is a simple dish for a weeknight and it can be dressed up for any occasion. Like a little black dress or a good pair of jeans, it is suitable for any occasion and can be paired with any kind of bread, pita or rice.










Ingredients

For 2-3 people


Advanced Ingredient 

  • Boiled Potatoes


Oils and Spices


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • ¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 5 curry leaves

  • 1 tablespoon peeled, grated ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 pinch sugar

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • ½ teaspoon red chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala


Other Ingredients

  • 2 medium roma tomatoes diced into ½” x ½” pieces

  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt

  • 1.5 cups water

  • 1 cup soya nuggets (optional)

  • (Optional) Chopped cilantro for garnish


Boiled Potatoes


Ingredients

  • 3 medium or 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes


Utensils

  • 1 Thick-bottomed pot

Method Using Thick-bottomed pot


  • Scrub potatoes under running water to remove dirt stuck in crevices

  • Cut them in half and place them in a pot

  • Add enough water to cover all the potatoes

  • Cover the pot with a lid. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, uncover and keep an eye on the potatoes.

  • After 20 minutes, insert a knife into the potatoes, if it pierces through the potato smoothly, the potatoes are ready.

  • If not, boil them for 5 to 10 minutes more and perform the knife test again.

  • Turn the heat off. Drain the water and let the potatoes cool down in a colander.


Putting Saucy Potato together


Prep

  • Take the yogurt out of the refrigerator to let it come to room temperature. This step is important because if you drop cold yogurt into a hot bubbling mixture, it is going to curdle and make the final dish look unpleasant.

  • Assemble ingredients


Utensils

  • 1 Thick-bottomed pot


Method

  • Peel the potatoes once they are cool. Cut them into 1” x 1” pieces.

  • Or crush them in your hand to make uneven, craggy pieces. This way some pieces are mush and they help the sauce thicken up in the final dish. Set the potatoes aside.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a sauté pan at medium heat.

  • After 3 minutes, pour in the ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds and ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds. The seeds will start sizzling and popping right away.

  • Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 5 curry leaves and tomatoes.

  • Follow up with 1 tablespoon ginger, pinch of sugar and 1 teaspoon salt

  • The tomatoes will shrivel and lose their moisture in 7-8 minutes and start secreting oil.

  • Combine 2 tablespoons yogurt and stir well and 1.5 cups water.

  • Add 1 teaspoon of coriander powder and ½ teaspoon red chile powder to the liquid.

  • Add the potatoes once this golden tomatoey liquid starts bubbling.

  • One way to up the protein quotient in this dish is to add a cup of soya nuggets at this point.

  • Now let the dish come to a rolling boil. If you find the sauce watery, crush the potatoes with the back of a spoon. This will thicken the sauce.

  • Add ½ teaspoon garam masala.

  • Turn the heat off, and garnish with cilantro.

  • Serve hot with any bread of your choice or rice.


Rice


Jeera rice is an undemanding way to embellish rice and dress it up for occasions or parties. Use basmati rice. Just sauté it in cumin seeds tempered in ghee and proceed to cook the rice the way you do regularly. The cumin flavor picks up as the rice cooks and you end up with a good-looking, lightly accented rice with a light brown, golden sheen. The recipe below is for stovetop cooking of rice. Feel free to use a rice cooker, Instant Pot or any method of cooking rice of your choice.


Ingredients


  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter (salted or unsalted)

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt


Utensils

  • 1 Thick-bottomed pot


Method

  • Wash rice under running water 2-3 times or until the water that you drain off runs clear. Set it aside.

  • Heat butter or ghee at medium heat in a thick-bottomed pot.

  • Add cumin seeds and let them sputter, which will take 2-3 minutes.

  • Pour the washed rice and stir well till the moisture sticking to the rice evaporates and each grain becomes toasty and distinct. This will take about five minutes.

  • Add 1 3/4 cups water.

  • Keep an eye on rice.

  • Once the water evaporates, cover the pot.

  • After 5 minutes, take a grain in between your thumb and index finger and squish. If you can crush it easily, rice is ready. If not ready, check again in 2-3 minutes.

  • It's best to make jeera rice about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat.

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