Monday, February 23, 2009

Eat like a "Slumdog"

Riding the wave of "Slumdog Millionaire," here's an easy recipe for potato curry.

4 medium potatoes
1 big onion
2 tomatoes
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
2 teaspoons red chili powder, divided
Garam masala
cilantro leaves for garnishing
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
4 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup frozen baby green peas (petit pois)

Wash potatoes and peel them if you want them to look pretty. Otherwise, leave the nutritious skins on. Chop them into 1/2" thick cubes.
Chop onion finely. Chop tomatoes and cilantro.
Heat a wok or a sauce pan. Add oil. When oil is heated, add cumin seeds. As the seeds sizzle, add asafoetida and turmeric powder. After this, add 1/2 tsp chili powder in the tempering. This gives the gravy a nice deep red color. Also if you add chopped cilantro at this stage, it enhances the flavor of the curry.
Add onions and fry until they become light brown. Add chopped tomatoes and saute until they soften, blend with the onion and oil separates from the mixture. Then add crushed ginger and garlic. Fry until just aromatic.
Add peas and diced potatoes. Mix and add 2 cups hot water. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and check if potatoes are tender. Add salt, masala and the rest of the chili powder and mix. Let it simmer uncovered for 5 minutes to thicken the gravy.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with plain rice.
Note: You can find the garam masala and asafoetida in Indian groceries. You can make this dish without them, but it won't taste authentic.


  1. What's asafoetida?

    Also, do you have a Garam Masala you suggest? My understanding is that in India every grandmother has their own secret and highly guarded recipe for Garam Masala.

  2. Asafoetida is a ground root, I believe, that (like espazote in Mexican food) adds flavor and helps prevent intestinal gas.

    I've been mixing my own garam masala for years, but many of my cookbooks are still packed and I don't have access to my recipe, I'm sad to say (although not too sad, since I still have about a quarter bottle of my mix in my cupboard). I'll try to find it tomorrow.