Remember how, this time last year, I was ranting away at my zucchinis? Well, this year, its potatoes. Kay planted around thirty potato plants in our neighbour's garden this year, and despite the hail battering, they have all prolifically produced potatoes (I love alliterations, me!) A lot of potatoes. Many, many hundreds of potatoes. Maybe even thousands and millions of potatoes (ok, a teeny exaggeration, perhaps)
I literally have potatoes coming out of my ears... a giant number of them, all lovely, and firm and red skinned and yellow fleshed... sitting there in baskets... looking at me with their potatoey eyes... just begging to be eaten, used up or given away. Our friends have already been at the recieving end of our potato shares, and I joke that I feel like a dealer, standing around on street corners going 'man, you wanna potatoes?'
You think I am kidding? Look!
And the picture is only of the little guys. Kay sorted them out, and stored the large potatoes in the garage for now. I am still not quite sure how to preserve them, but I am frantically researching.
Jokes aside, we do have a gigantic harvest this year and I've been frantically cooking anything and everything potato. I've already run through all of my staple recipes and am now madly making anything that looks good and is remotely potato friendly. So, expect to see a lot of potato recipes here this month (and the next, and the next...)
Thankfully, one of my recipe inspirations came thanks to my friend May, who posted this delicious looking Dahi Kadhi (Hot Spiced Yoghurt Soup). It inspired me to make this popular Indian recipe called dum aloo or potatoes simmered in a gently spiced yogurt sauce. May's yogurt soup had no potatoes in it, but at this time any recipe that can have potatoes dunked in it, is getting potatoes dunked in it.
This recipe worked out brilliantly, even if I do say so myself. Our potatoes are lush and sweet and this delicate, tangy-spicy sauce gently enhances their flavour without overpowering them. Its a fantastic dish for easy, nutritious suppers, and it goes well as an accompaniment to all sorts of dishes.
A couple of things do need to be kept in mind while making this dish. The yogurt needs to be at room temperature or just very slightly chilled while making this dish. Make sure you take the pan off the heat and let the oil cool a little, before adding the yogurt mixture, as adding cold yogurt to hot oil can make it split. Once added, keep the heat medium-low, and bring the yogurt to just steaming point, and try to avoid boiling it, which can also make it split. The chickpea flour actually is there to make sure yogurts don't split, but I've found that yogurts here are not the same as in India and tend to split faster.
If the yogurt does split, not to worry. Take off the heat and whisk hard for a few minutes, and this should emulsify it a little. In all honesty, splitting doesn't really affect the taste of this dish, its a purely aesthetic issue.
The tarka at the end just lifts the whole flavour of the dish, making it truly amazing. May has a lot more in her tarka, but I kept it simple here. But do check out her recipe for the lovely soup, which I shall be making soon enough. Its not like there aren't any potatoes to go around, haha.
Watch out for more potato recipes coming your way soon... and if you want some, hop on by, and you can have some :)
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 kilo fresh potatoes, scrubbed, peeled if necessary and cut into chunks
Cold water, enough to cover the potatoes
Salt to taste
For the yogurt sauce:
2 cups plain or greek style yogurt, at room temperature
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup chickpea or gram flour (besan)
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 - 2 hot green chillies, sliced finely
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon hot cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon unscented oil
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 small onion, diced fine
1 cup hot vegetable stock
For the tempering, or tarka/ tadka/ phon:
½ tablespoon unscented oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 - 2 sprigs curry leaves, picked (about 10 - 12 leaves)
2 long dried red chillies
2 whole garlic cloves, slightly bruised
Place the potatoes in a deep saucepan and cover with cold water. Add salt to taste, bring to the boil, and cook the potatoes until soft and tender. Drain and keep aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt and the milk. Sift over the chickpea flour and whisk until there are no lumps. Stir in the grated ginger, green chillies, turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin and cayenne pepper (if using) and mix well.
Heat the oil in a deep pan, on medium heat, and add the fennel seeds. When they start to sputter, add the onion. Fry for about 5 - 6 minutes, until the onion is soft and just beginning to colour.
Take the pan off the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Gently whisk in the yogurt mixture, little by little, scraping the sides and making sure that the oil is all emulsified into the sauce.
Place back on a low heat, and incorporate the stock, gently whisking it in. Season to taste. On a low heat, bring the sauce to a very gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Fold in the potatoes into the yogurt sauce and bring back to a simmer for a minute, then take off the heat and keep aside while you make the tempering.
To make the tarka or tempering, heat oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they sizzle and sputter, add the red chillies, the garlic and the curry leaves. Saute for abotu 30 seconds, then pour the whole lot over the potatoes in the yogurt sauce. Cover quickly to trap in the aromas.
Just before serving, gently stir everything together, check and adjust seasoning and serve just warm. This dish goes well with any accompaniment like rice, Indian breads or pita bread.