The potato craving usually hits hard in the winter when I need some good ol’ comfort food that will stick to my ribs and satisfy my need for warmth — if only for a while. These potatoes, spiced with turmeric and green chilies does just that.
I usually use sweet potatoes in my cooking since it's the healthier option and they contain a ton of good stuff, especially vitamins A and C. But for this recipe only a good old-fashioned potato will do, in a dish I call "batata fry."
Tear off a warm piece of ghee-soaked roti, use it to envelope a couple of spiced potatoes and a bit of the green chili and pop it into your mouth. With each bite, the warm heat from the green chilies will slowly creep into your body and the comfort of the potatoes will have you floating into an abyss of happiness. I would suggest grabbing a warm comfy blanket and head off for a nap after this comforting meal. Sigh…
(turmeric and cumin spiced potatoes)
2 tablespoons ghee or grape seed oil
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
8 small Thai green chilies
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Squeeze of lemon
Pinch of garam masala (optional)
Heat the ghee or oil until it’s very hot but not smoking. Reduce the heat to medium and throw in the cumin seeds and 6 green chilies. Cover slightly as the chilies and cumin seeds will begin to pop profusely.
Before the seeds blacken, toss in the potatoes. Sprinkle with ground turmeric, ground cumin, and sea salt. Stir for a few seconds, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low.
Once the potatoes soften, pour in the water and the tamarind paste. Stir and simmer for a few minutes. Scoop into a warm bowl.
Garnish with cilantro, lemon juice and the garam masala (if using). Finely chop the last two Thai chilies and scatter over the batata fry.
Serve with hot ghee smeared rotis (whole wheat flat bread) and raito (green chili pickle).
To avoid the chilies from exploding in the hot oil, make a tiny slit in each one before throwing them in.
Depending on the variety of the potato or when the crop was harvested, the potatoes may naturally contain a little or a lot of water. Therefore adjust the water as necessary. I taught a class a few weeks ago and the water I suggested adding was enough for most students. But for some they had to add more water.
If you like a thicker, creamy curry, gently smash a couple of the potatoes while it’s simmering and add about a 1/2 cup more water.
For brunch, batata fry tastes great with poached eggs and a crusty thick slab of French bread loaded with butter. Yum!
Shamim Rashid is a Minnesota-based food blogger, cooking instructor, and entrepreneur. Cooking with spices and knowing their properties comes naturally to her, as she has accumulated this knowledge from her mum and both grandmothers from a tender age. She is absolutely passionate about using natural ingredients, especially if it’s local. She loves a good laugh and is always ready to chat over a good cuppa tea. Check out her blog, For The Love of Ghee.