EPICURIOUS: THE VERSATILE POTATO

17 Dec 2017

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Loaded with carbs, potassium and the energy you need to perform at your best, the versatile potato can be used in at least 101 ways for making main meals, side dishes and snacks in both local and foreign cuisines. Here are three desi recipes.

KHATTAY ALOO

Khattay Aloo is a dish that is not only easy to make; eating it is also a relaxed and easygoing affair. You can eat it on its own as a meal with naan; pair it with something exotic like dosa and sambar; use it as an accompaniment to chaat or dahi barray; pile it on toast to make a sandwich, or sprinkle it with something crunchy for a snack with your chai.

INGREDIENTS

Boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes 5 large ones Peeled and diced onions 1 cup
Peeled and diced tomatoes 1 cup
Garlic-ginger paste ½ tablespoon
Chilli powder ½ teaspoon
Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon
Chilli flakes ¼ teaspoon
Mustard seeds ¼ teaspoon
Salt ½ teaspoon or to taste
Chopped green chilli 1-2
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

METHOD

Sauté the diced onion till they become soft and pink and start floating on the oil. Stir fry the garlic-ginger paste in onion till it releases a strong aroma, then add the mustard seeds and fry them till they start popping. Add the turmeric, chilli powder and chilli flakes, and stir fry till the spices change colour and darken, then put in the diced tomatoes so that the juice released from them stops the spices from burning. Let the tomatoes simmer on low heat till they become a puree. Place the potatoes in this puree and fold them into it. Cook on low heat for a few minutes, adding in the green chilli and lime juice just before turning off the heat. Garnish with chopped coriander, and voila, your khattay aloo are ready to eat!

ALOO QEEMA CUTLETS

This is another easily-prepared item. Each cutlet is quite filling and almost a meal in itself, so it is ideal for serving in iftari, sehri, for office and school lunch, as an evening snack, as a meal on cook’s day out, and at picnics, one-dish parties and teas.

INGREDIENTS

For the potato shell
Boiled, peeled, and mashed potatoes
6 medium ones
(1 potato will make 1 cutlet)
Peeled and diced onion 1 cup
Chilli powder 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon
Cracked black pepper ½ teaspoon
Salt ½ teaspoon or to taste
Finely chopped green chilli 2-3
Finely chopped coriander leaves 1/3 cup

For the mince filling

Beef mince ½ kg
Peeled and diced onions 1 cup
Peeled and diced tomatoes 1 cup
Garlic-ginger paste 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder ½ teaspoon
Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
Cracked black pepper ¼ teaspoon
Salt ½ teaspoon or to taste

For the coating
Beaten eggs
Bread crumbs

METHOD

For the potato shell
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside. (Do not mash the potatoes too much or they will become sticky and difficult to shape.)

For the mince filling
In a pot, fry the onions till golden-brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir-fry till it releases its aroma. Add the salt, chilli and turmeric powder and stir-fry till they change colour. Add the diced tomatoes and simmer on low heat till the onions, spices and tomatoes become a smooth blend. Now add the minced meat to this, stirring regularly so that the mince doesn’t form lumps. Cook on medium heat till the oil separates. Add the cracked black pepper and stir-fry for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

For frying
Make thin patties of the mashed potato the size of your palm. Place a tablespoon-full of mince in the centre of a patty. Close this with another layer of potato patty, and then seal the sides securely by pressing and moulding the two patties together. This will make one cutlet. (If the cutlet is too thick or too large, it may break while frying.)

Brush the cutlet with the beaten eggs, and then cover it completely with bread crumbs. Refrigerate for half an hour before shallow-frying on medium heat in a pan till golden-brown and crisp on both sides. Serve hot.

ALOO SEV CHAAT

This deep-fried potato chaat is so delicious and yet so easy to make, it will have you craving for more. It should be served as soon as it is prepared to keep it crispy and crunchy.

INGREDIENTS

Peeled and cubed potatoes 4 large ones
Peeled and diced onions 1 cup
Peeled and diced tomatoes 1 cup
Chilli powder ½ teaspoon
Toasted, crushed zeera ½ teaspoon
Chat masala ½ teaspoon
Salt 1 teaspoon or to taste
Juice of 2 limes
Chopped green chilli 2-3
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Tamarind chutney
Green chutney
Sev puri

METHOD

Deep fry the potatoes till crisp and golden and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the chopped onions, tomatoes, green chilli, and coriander leaves. Toss in the spices, lime juice and chutneys, and mix them thoroughly.

On a bed of crispy sev puri, spoon over the onion-tomato mixture. Layer the fried potatoes on top of this. Sprinkle chaat masala and a dash of lime juice on top and it’s ready to serve.

Published in Dawn, EOS, December 17th, 2017