Category: Potatoes

Pudina Potatoes

One other vegetable I brought from weekends Canino farmer’s market trip was baby red potatoes. They were so tiny, round and fresh, I just couldn’t resist their cute appeal. Half of them went into a weekend special meal Dum Aloo. With the remaining ones, I prepared pudina potatoes for today’s meal. This new recipe is inspired by village style methi aloo. The combination of pudina and potato might sound odd, but wait until you try it. Pudina’s strong herbal flavor lends a charming personality to potatoes making pudina potatoes a pleasure to serve and have.

Homegrown Pudina (Mint)
Homegrown Pudina (Spearmint)

Pudina Potatoes
(for 2 to 4 for 2 to 1 meal)

Potatoes: Place 10 tiny red potatoes in a large pot or pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover by at least half inch. Bring to boil and cook the potatoes to tender. Drain. Cool and peel the skin. Set aside.

Pudina: While potatoes are cooking, take a fistful of fresh pudina leaves. Wash and take them in a mixer or mortar. Add 2 to 3 fresh green chillies, a tablespoon of fresh grated coconut and a pinch of salt. Blend them to coarse paste without adding water.

Pudina Potatoes:

    In a large, cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add a pinch each-cumin and mustard seeds and saute to fragrance. Add a cup of thinly sliced onions and fry to golden.
    Add the potatoes. Sprinkle the pudina paste, quarter teaspoon of turmeric and half teaspoon of salt over the top and mix well. Cook on medium heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Serve hot.

Pudina Potatoes makes a tasty side dish to rice, roti or pasta with dal, dahi or subji combination.

Pudina Potato (Minty Aloo)
Pudina Potatoes ~ for Meal Today

Celebrating Spring: Potato Sambar

You know, when something is good, it becomes a classic. This potato sambar, for example. I remember two generations before me, my mother and grandmother, enjoying this delicious and hearty dish. Idly and potato sambar – “more amma…” I would always ask for more when I was a child. Who knew digging into the earth for potatoes would unearth all these precious memory jewels as well! Fresh produce patriotism plus the nostalgia – that’s what this potato sambar is for me now.

I realize that potatoes are not for everyone in this calorie-conscious atmosphere. But baby and new crop potatoes are truly wonderful, and I do think they are worth that extra mile walk.

Toor Dal Mash, Pearl Onions, Tomato and Red Potatoes for Potato Sambar
Toor Dal Mash, Pearl Onions, Tomato and Red Potatoes for Potato Sambar

Potato Sambar
(for 2 or 4, for 4 to 2 meals)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup, Toor dal
2 medium sized, fresh potatoes. Cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds (no dice)
10 pearl onions, peel the skin and cut off the ends
1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
Half lime-sized tamarind
1 tablespoon, sambar powder
1/4 teaspoon each, red chilli powder and turmeric powder
1 teaspoon, salt or to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

For Curry Leaf Tadka:
2 teaspoons, peanut oil
One sprig of fresh curry leaves, 6 small dry red chilli pieces, 1/4 teaspoon each – mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and hing

Method:
Toor dal: In a heavy cooking pot or pressure cooker, take toor dal. Wash and clean the dal. Add two cups of water, quarter teaspoon of turmeric. Mix, cover and cook until the dal is soft and then mash it to smooth paste. Keep it aside.

Tamarind: Soak half lime-sized ball of tamarind in one cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze it out between your fingers to extract the juice and discard the pith and seeds.

Prepare the Sambar: In a big pot, heat to medium and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chillies, mustard seeds, fenugreek, hing and curry leaves and saute for 2 minutes. Add the onion and brown lightly. Add the potatoes and tomatoes. Cook, partially covered until potatoes are fork-tender.

Add the tamarind extract, mashed toor dal that was kept aside to the vegetables. Stir in sambar powder, red chilli powder and salt. Add a cup of water. Allow this to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and remove from heat.

Serve potato sambar warm with rice, idlies or vada. Or fill a cup with sambar and sip with a spoon. However you serve, potato sambar makes a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Potato Sambar and Rava Idly
Potato Sambar and Rava Idly ~ A Meal, Last Weekend

Potatoes with Rosemary and Cumin

Delicate skin, texture so precious, you just want to hold them like babies.

Their fragrance is legendary, and continents were discovered in search of their source.

Create a dish that would express your culinary affection. It has to be simple in preparation and sensational in taste.

Yes, my dear Mahanandi!

New Potatoes with Rosemary and Cumin
(for two, for one meal)

Freshly Harvested Red Potatoes
Pick 12 freshly harvested (new crop or baby) potatoes. Gently rub and wash to reveal that pale ruby red skin.

Freshly Harvested Potatoes
Place the potatoes in a steamer. Add water to the pot and place the steamer in pot. Cover and steam-cook the potatoes to fork-tender.

Freshly Harvested Potatoes
In a cast iron skillet, heat two tablespoons of ghee. Add and toast quarter teaspoon cumin seeds and a tablespoon fresh rosemary to fragrance. Add the steam-cooked potatoes (cut into smaller pieces, as needed). Gently toss and saute for five minutes. Sprinkle salt and black pepper to taste. Serve Warm.

Spring Harvest : New Potatoes for Potato Upma

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.

Freshly Harvested Red Potatoes
Spring Harvest: New (Immature), Red Potatoes

Potato Upma
(for two or four, for two to one meal)

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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
Potato Upma with Pappula Podi and Carrots ~ for Meal Today

Malai Kofta for a Potluck Party of 25

“You remember the potluck party on Saturday evening? I am making a list of the dish each of us will bring to the party. What should I put your name on?” …My friend on the phone.

“Let me think for a minute. mmm… Malai kofta. How does that sound?”

“Perfect for the holiday mood. Love it.”

I don’t know what prompted me to say malai kofta. Even though, malai kofta is my all time favorite dish, I rarely make it at home. To prepare it from scratch, some serious work is involved and if I do all the work, I feel like the romance is gone from experiencing this delicious dish. I prefer to keep it as a standard order for an indulgent mood at an Indian restaurant. Well, whatever prompted me to say malai kofta, I was glad I offered it. I had a chance to make it after longtime. The good thing is it came out well and we had some fun time at the party.

This is how I made the malai kofta on Saturday morning.


Malai Kofta for a Potluck Party of 25

Ingredient List:

For koftas (25×2=50 koftas):
1 gallon, whole milk and 2 limes- to make fresh paneer
5 russet or red potatoes, medium-sized
2 big carrots, grated
1/2 cup, cashews
1/4 cup, golden raisins
1 teaspoon, salt
1/2 teaspoon, chilli powder
To deep-fry the koftas:
1 cup, chapati flour
3 cups, peanut oil

For Malai Sauce:
2 red onions, jumbo sized
10 roma or vine ripe tomatoes, big size
2-inch ginger piece, skin peeled
2 plump garlic cloves, skins removed
1/4 cup, finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup each, cashews and golden raisins
1/4 cup each, fresh paneer and grated fresh coconut
1×1-inch, cinnamon stick
6 cloves
1 tablespoon, coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon each, cumin and fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon each, black pepper and turmeric
2 teaspoons, salt
1 teaspoon, chilli powder
1 cup, whole milk or 1/2 cup, cream

Method:

To prepare malai kofta from scratch, for a party of 25, it would take at least two hours, four burners of heat and decent amount of concentration. We need to make a minimum of 50 koftas and enough malai sauce to accommodate them.

Step 1 – Preparation for Paneer and Sauce: Prepare the ingredients for koftas and for malai sauce by placing four pots on four burners. Cook simultaneously for energy and time efficiency. Here is how I did it.

Burner 1 for Paneer: Pour one gallon of milk in a big, wide pot. Bring the milk to boil. Cut and add limejuice from 2 limes to the boiling milk. Milk starts to cuddle immediately. Stir continuously. When the white, fluffy clouds of paneer get big and separated from watery whey, pour the entire contents into a muslin cloth lined pot. Twist and squeeze the cloth several times to strain the paneer completely whey-free. Hang to drip-dry if possible. Divide the paneer into two parts – 3/4 (for koftas) and 1/4 part (for malai sauce).

Burner 2 for Potatoes: Wash and cut each potato into two. Take potatoes in a pressure-cooker. Add just enough water to cover them. Cook to fork tender. Drain the water. Peel the skins and mash the potatoes coarsely.

Burner 3 for Tomatoes: Place a pot on the stovetop and add a cup of water. Bring water to boil. Add tomatoes and cover the pot. When tomato skin starts to break, turn off the heat. Remove the cover to cool.

Burner 4 for Onions: Peel the skin and cut onions to chunk pieces. Heat a tablespoon of oil in an iron skillet. Add onion, and sauté to brown on high heat, stirring in-between.

Step 2 – Preparation for Koftas and Malai Sauce: Grind the prepared ingredients for koftas and for malai sauce. Connect a food processor and a Sumeet style mixer into power outlets and follow the procedure.

In food processor, add paneer, mashed potatoes, grated carrot, salt, chilli powder, cashews and golden raisins. Pulse few times first and then run the processor to combine the ingredients well. Remove the mix to a bowl. This will be shaped into koftas.

Clean the food processor. Put the tomatoes and blend. Add the water tomatoes simmered in for smooth run. Remove the tomato puree to a bowl.

To the food processor, add roasted onions. Blend into fine paste. Remove the onion paste to a bowl.

In a mixer, take cashews and grind to smooth paste. To this paste, add coconut, paneer, ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro leaves, golden raisins, black peppercorn, cumin, fennel, coriander seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Grind the ingredients to fine consistency. The masala paste has to be extremely smooth. So run the blender for at least 5 minutes, adding few tablespoons of water when required.

Step 3: Simmer the Malai Sauce and Fry the Koftas

Simmer the Sauce: Place a wide, deep pan on the stove-top. Add and heat a tablespoon of oil. When oil is hot, add the roasted onion paste, masala paste. Saute for five minutes on medium heat, constantly stirring. Add the tomato puree, turmeric, milk or cream and 2 cups of water. Combine well. Have a taste and add salt and chilli powder if required. Cover and simmer the sauce on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring in-between. Avoid high heat and take care not to blacken the sauce at the bottom of the pan. When the sauce starts to thicken, turn off the heat.

Make Koftas: In another burner, place a skillet suitable to deep-fry. Add and heat peanut oil. While oil is getting hot, shape the koftas from the paneer mixture into small rounds of 1-inch diameter. Roll the paneer rounds into chapati flour, lightly coating the surface. This will keep the koftas intact during deep-frying process and prevents any breaks or spillages into hot oil. Prepare them all this way and line them in a tray.

When oil is hot, add the paneer rounds in batches and deep-fry to gold color. Remove and place them on a paper covered tray.

Step 4 – Serving Suggestions:

Keep the sauce and koftas separate in two containers until the party time. Because koftas are so delicately made, they tend to disintegrate when soaked in sauce for long period of time. When the food is arranged on the table and just before mealtime, gently place the koftas in rows in malai sauce. Warm the tray in oven for ten minutes on lowest heat setting, if required. Serve with chapati, paratha, naan or rice.

Malai koftas are without a doubt one of the best tasting Bharath recipes out there for parties, and I was glad to have a chance to enjoy them with friends during this holiday season.

I did manage to take few photos of the process. Here they are:


Grated Carrot, Mashed Potato, Freshly Made Paneer, Cashews and Golden Raisins ~ Ingredients for Koftas


Tomato Puree, Masala Paste and Roasted Onion Paste ~ For Malai Sauce


Blending the Ingredients for Koftas in a Food Processor


The Blended Mixture is Shaped into Round Koftas and Covered with Chapati Flour


Deep-fried Koftas


Malai Kofta, Mingling with Others at a Potluck Party


Malai Kofta, One Among Many, Finding its Place in Someone’s Plate

© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari.

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