Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eat: Aloo Matar Recipe

Even since we watched an episode of Jamie Oliver's Great Britain a couple weeks back, I've had a hankering for some Indian spiced potatoes. Jaime Oliver reminded me how easy cooking with Indian flavors can be as long as you have all the ingredients on hand. I love all the spices of Indian cuisine but I'm only starting to get the hang of understanding what combinations of spices work best, especially since there seems to be a lot of layering.

The opportunity to dabble with Indian spice came along the other day when we were trying to figure out a veggie side dish for dinner. Knowing we had potatoes and frozen peas in the freezer I thought I'd play around with an aloo mattar recipe. Every single recipe for aloo mattar seems to be different, so I thought it would be low risk to make my own mix of spices based on a few of the variations I've found. I started with this one from Manjula's Kitchen and modified it tremendously. Please keep in mind that this 'recipe' was ad hoc and I mostly 'eye-balled' my measurements. It's a safe bet you can add/remove mustard seed without much consequence, but pay attention to spices that add/remove heat so that you don't ruin a recipe with mouth-scorching heat.

Improvisio Aloo Matar

Approx. 5-6 medium potatoes (I used russet)
1/2 to 1 cup finely diced onion (or omit if you don't have)
Approx. 1 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1-2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1-2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2-1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
1 teaspoon mango powder amchoor
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons or more, chopped cilantro

Cut potatoes into bite size pieces (I left the skin on). Chop onion into a fine dice. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and add the following spices: cumin seed, ground cumin, cayenne, chili pepper flakes, mustard seed, ground coriander, fennel seed, turmeric, salt and paprika. Cook the spice mix until spices start start to become fragrant and browned. Add onion and cook until slightly softened. Add potatoes, stir to coat with spices and add just enough water to slightly cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and reduce water slightly, stirring every now and then for approx. 10 -15 min. Mash a few pieces of potato to add texture and thickness to the sauce. Ensuring there is enough water for the potatoes to remain 'saucy', add frozen peas and stir to combine. When peas are cooked through, add mango powder, garam masala, and chopped cilantro. Mix gently, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Voila.. aloo mattar!

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On a side note, I recently acquired a masala dabba (check out this one as an example) which I am quite eager to use. I'm hoping it will be easier to manage than my motley crew of spice bottles/jars, as seen in the picture below. I'm not sure which spices will make the cut to be included in my dabba but I'm psyched to set it up!

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