A South Indian Meal: Part IV (fried potatoes)
Posted by fourclankitchen on November 6, 2010
This is the fourth and last of the accompaniments that go with the South Indian Meal that is made up of Dosa, Sambar, Chutney and potatoes. These potatoes are comfort food, if there ever was one and versions of it are made in every household in India. I make no claims to the authenticity of the dish here. I view Indian dishes the same way the Greeks viewed their epics. The bards used a stock set of phrases that were recognizably Homeric (“bright eye Athena”, “Odysseus, the old fox”) and improvised the rest. It just sounded familiar and the whole epic did not have to be memorized. That is what most of us also do with cooking. Add a few stock”Indian” ingredients and improvise the rest, depending on what you have in your pantry and fridge.
To this dish, you can add any of the following: carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, grated beets, take your pick. However, do take the trouble to get/prepare some of the ingredients that make this dish “Indian tasting” or South Indian tasting (mustard seeds, curry leaves, grated ginger, turmeric). I have described these in detail in the last 3 posts, here, here and here.
3 medium-large potatoes, microwaved for 5 min total (I used Yukon Golds)
1/2 a large onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper diced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tbs. cooking oil
pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1-2 dried red cayenne peppers (optional)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves
2 tbs. roasted unsalted peanuts
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/3 cup water
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish (optional)
In a large skillet or thin walled cast iron wok, heat the cooking oil. Then add the curry leaves, ginger, asafoetida, cayenne peppers, mustard and the roasted peanuts. Fry until the oil becomes aromatic. Then add the onions and fry until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 min. Then add the bell peppers and fry for another 5 min. Then add the potatoes and the turmeric and salt. Stir fry until the potatoes begin to brown. Then add the water and mix well. Cover with a lid and lower the flame and cook until the water is fully incorporated into the potatoes and the potatoes are soft. Remove the lid and cook for a few min on high flame, so that the potatoes begin to brown a little (this step is optional). Garnish with cilantro (if using) and serve as a side dish with any Indian meal or with dosas as I have suggested in the last 3 posts.