Reminiscent of those Sunday meals where quick but delicious food was the norm and we had a gaggle of family and friends gathered around for one of those inimitable “quality times” at home. The aroma of fresh sambar and potato spicy podimas with a generous dose of onions and spiced just perfect with green chilies . Asafoetida wafting through the siren’s call of hot, steaming, fresh cooked food and aided by a perfect combination of melted ghee and vadams.
A typical south Indian brunch followed very shortly by filter kaapi – the mother of all Starbucks lattes and espresso, in my opinion. Those were the simpler times. Be it an impromptu weekend brunch or any of those big family gatherings, it was a given that house would be bursting at seams with folks. There was always a smile for everyone and room for one more ..
This dish dates back to those days. Clean flavors with minimal cooking but bang on the target for taste. Fresh curry leaves were always used – just taken of the tree in the backyard. Cilantro? the kitchen garden had it. Want mint ? Running out of something? Just peek into your neighbors’ backyard and give a shout out. Have a huge lot of veggies you harvested? Neighbors took them and nothing goes waste. Community living at its finest, sometimes.
This was a favorite prep back home. Infact you can make a ton of it and use it as a stuffing for masala dosa. Or be creative and stuff it into a bun or paratha, make a grilled sandwich. Possibilities ? Endless!
Prep time : 20 -30 min Cook time : 15 min
This serves about 6-8 people and goes great with samabar or simple rasam and rice.
- Potatoes : 8-10
- Onions : 2 , medium-sized
- Ginger : skinned, a big 1 inch piece
- Curry leaves : 6-8
- Asafoetida : 1 generous pinch
- Turmeric powder : 1 tsp.
- Salt : 1.5 tsp.
- Green chilies : 6 ( I used very spicy ones )
- Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped finely
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
- Split, washed urad dal : 1 Tbsp.
- Oil : 2 Tbsp.
- Boil the potatoes ( or pressure cook them ) well, peel and mash them roughly ( retain small chunks, don’t make it a gooey mess) and set aside.
- Chop ginger and chilies finely or coarsely as per preference and set aside.
- Finely slice onions and set aside. I used 2 golf ball sized red onions. You can increase or decrease the quantity based on personal preference.
- In a wide bottom heavy skillet ( use a heavy cast iron or nonstick if available ) add the oil and heat it. Add in the Asafoetida when the oil gets hot. Now add in the tempering of mustard seeds ( which will splutter) and urad dal. Once the urad dal is light brown in color , add the curry leaves, chopped ginger and chilies. Sauté for about 30-45 seconds and then add the turmeric powder and the sliced onions.
- Sauté the onions till well brown.
- Now add the mashed potatoes and salt and gently stir fry in the skillet until the spices are well coated and potatoes are evenly salted as well.
- Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.