This recipe is a different version of the well known and popular Gujarati suki bhaji, or dry potato curry. My daughter dislikes potatoes of all kinds, with the huge exception of this meal. This one, she devours! It is actually the way the potato filling is made for masala dosa, the delicious staple food from the South of India (if you haven’t tried masala dosa, I urge you to do so). I prefer to make this version when I am making dry potatoes, as it has a wonderful earthy depth created by the white urad dal, and curry leaves.
When I was a child and we would go to Yorkshire beauty spots such as Bolton Abbey with our entourage of friends who became family, the mothers would prepare Indian food in such vast quantities, that I’m sure onlookers, on seeing the continuous flow of foods coming out of the cool boxes, deduced we hadn’t eaten for weeks!
There was always dry potato, puris (little fried versions of chapati), samosas, and hot masala chai. We children would often have the dry potato spread over slices of buttered bread, sandwiched together, creating our very own Indian version of the ubiquitous British sandwich! I swear, growing up straddling two cultures makes one hugely creative and adaptable, even when it comes to food. We wanted to prove we were both proudly Indian, and British.
Ingredients to serve 6-8 people as part of an Indian meal:
10 small potatoes, peeled and diced
A medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
Half tsp black mustard seeds
Half tsp cumin seeds
A tsp white urad dal
8-10 curry leaves, ideally fresh, but dry will do
A small green chilli, chopped small
Half tsp turmeric powder
A tsp ground cumin
A tsp ground coriander
Half tsp mild (Kashmiri) chilli powder
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
A small handful chopped coriander leaves
A tbsp dessicated coconut
Heat the oil in a small wok or similar, and when it is hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they fizzle, add the urad dal and let it turn dark brown, before adding the curry leaves and green chilli. Now add the onion to the pan and saute for a minute or two before adding the diced potatoes and salt. Let it all cook on a low/medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Now add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powders, mix everything thoroughly and cook on a low heat, stirring and watching. The potatoes should be soft but intact. If they look like they are sticking, turn the heat down and add a couple of splashes of water but no more.
Now add the lemon juice and sugar, mix well, cover the wok with a lid and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Serve sprinkled with the coriander leaves and dessicated coconut.
Pretty to look at, and pretty delicious to eat.