Red potatoes I planted last winter are taking up quite a bit of precious space with their healthy blooms this spring. I read that flowering means potatoes can be harvested. I like the potatoes when they are in baby, immature stage, when the skin is still very delicate and they have not had as much time to convert their sugar into starch. I didn’t want the potatoes to fully develop into big mature ones with thick skin. So, to recover some planting space and to harvest some tender potatoes, yesterday I removed the potato plants and dug up the new potatoes. It was like an easy treasure hunt to unearth these baby ruby beauties. I got about 16 potatoes, from two plants. Not bad, considering that I didn’t do anything extra, like adding fertilizer, except watering the plants occasionally.
16 potatoes and 3 recipes – one recipe each for three days. That is the menu this week. First recipe on the list, a classic from childhood and my husband Vijay’s favorite, Potato Upma. Potatoes are cut, sautéed with other vegetables and then steamed with roasted rava in potato upma. For Vijay, upma is not upma unless it has some potatoes and tomatoes in it.
Spring Harvest: New (Immature), Red Potatoes
(for two or four, for two to one meal)
1 tablespoon, peanut oil
From Masala dabba: 1/4 teaspoon each, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds
1 sprig, fresh curry leaves,
1 onion, finely chopped, about a cup
4 green chillies (Indian or Thai variety), finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped, about half cup
2 potatoes, finely cubed, about a cup
Roasted cashews or peanuts, about quarter cup
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 and 1/2 cups, Roasted Upma Rava (available at Indian grocery)
3 cups water
In a large skillet, heat peanut oil over medium heat. Add urad dal, cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Toast the ingredients to fragrance. Add the onion and chillies, stir-fry until the onion softens, about five minutes. Add tomatoes and potatoes. Cook, stirring often for another five minutes. Add water to the skillet. Stir in salt. Raise the heat to medium-high and cover the skillet. When water starts to boil and lifts up the lid, remove the cover and reduce the heat to low. Add roasted rava, stirring constantly with a sturdy ladle so that the rava mixes well with water without any lumps. Sprinkle cashews or peanuts and steamcook, stirring frequently until there is no liquid left on the surface and the rava looks like creamy pudding.
Serve Potato Upma warm with chutney, pickle, podi or sambar.
Potato Upma with Pappula Podi and Carrots ~ for Meal Today