Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wherever You Are, It's Not A Party Without Potatoes, The 9th Wonder of The World.

You say Po-tay-to, you may say Po-tah-to. Actually I prefer saying Aloo which is the South Asian word for potato. When I was growing up, potatoes were something that was always associated with Ireland, or Idaho, but potatoes are grown all over the world and they seem to be popular everywhere and for good reason. Potatoes are delicious, and healthy, a combo that's not found very often. They're inexpensive, and packed with potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid, and when they're prepared in a healthy fashion there's almost nothing better for you.

   Besides which, potatoes have rightfully earned the name comfort food. In fact that is their name. The Latin moniker for potato is Solanum tuberosum. Solanum translates to "soothing" So the Romans got that one right. Potatoes are also related to tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos and eggplants but leaves the rest of the family in the dust. Who wants to curl up with a quilt, a good movie, and a big bowl of mashed eggplant?  When it comes to comport food nobody touches the good old potato.

   Potatoes are a New World food. They started off about 7,000 years ago, cultivated by the indigenous people of the Andes Mountains and worked their way around the world from there. Now, they're grown and loved nearly everywhere. In fact one of the biggest producers of potatoes on the planet is India and potato dishes can be found in all varieties on the subcontinent. When I first started cooking Indian food 26 years ago, a potato dish was the first thing I learned. Somehow the combination of a familiar vegetable in unfamiliar spices made the whole process a lot easier.

   In Indian cuisine it's never a festival, feast day, or special occasion, without a potato on the table. Right now Holi is about to be celebrated in India, and other countries of Southeast Asia. Holi marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. During Holi there's are gathering, parties and feasting. It's definitely a time to celebrate, and of course that celebration includes potatoes. In the Punjab, where this particular potato recipe originates, Winter is divided into two parts, Hemant for November through January, and Shishir for January through March. So Hemant ends with Bonfires on Hoilika Dahan, the Night Before Holi beigins. The bonfires are lit to celebrate the victory of good over evil, and people gather near them to sing and dance in celebration.

The next day, this...

...turns into this... people celebrate the arrival of the new season with all its colors. It's a festival of forgiveness and new starts... and good food. The potato recipe I'm offering up is a very simple Punjabi dish, easy to prepare for a party. It's one of the first Indian dishes I cooked and it's called Masla Aloo.

Masala Aloo

Here's What You Need:
3 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 Tbs rice flour
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro

Here's What To Do:
Halve the potatoes and boil them for about 15 minutes or until they are tender.

When they are done, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process and let them cool down.

When they've dried and cooled, slip the skins off...

...and cut the pieces into quarters.

Sprinkle the potato pieces with the rice flour. Coat them well.

In a skillet or kadhai heat 2 Tbs of coconut or other vegetable oil.

When the oil is hot add in the cumin seeds.

When the cumin seeds start to crackle, add in all the other spices.

Keep the heat low and stir the spices around well so that they are mixed into the hot oil.
When everything is well mixed with the oil, add in the rice flour coated potato pieces.

Stir them around so that the potato pieces are covered in the spices. Cook them this way for about 7 minutes. Keep stirring so nothing burns. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the potatoes and serve them up!

Hot, spicy, and crispy, pure Indian comfort food at it's finest. This is a great party dish no matter what you're celebrating and a quick and easy introduction to Indian cooking, and while you're at it here's another great potato video to enjoy!
Thanks to the U.S.Potato Board for sponsoring this post.


  1. A recipe post with a sound track... Love it!

  2. It is a great way to describe the method for cooking even a very simple and basic dish is describe in such a manner even the newbie in the kitchen can make it in first go. Very well Written

  3. What a great post! I was just in Jaipur for the Holi last March, what an amazing trip and country. Fell in love with Dosa, where has that been all my life?!
    Love this recipe, will make it soon.

    1. Thanks Kevin,
      I just got a new super large dosa pan , as my husband like the great big ones

  4. Many times i tried this dish. And its tastes so good.



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