Jeera Aloo (Potato Curry)
Jeera aloo masala is a potato dish made with a spicy cumin gravy. Turmeric powder gives the dish its bright yellow color, and along with the heat from the traditional garam masala, makes this dish the ultimate Indian comfort food.
I often make jeera aloo because it's a quick and easy vegetarian meal when I'm pressed for time. There are always potatoes and a container of ready-made garam masala in my house, so it's something I can throw together with almost no effort.
I think we all wish we could give our family healthy meals, but sometimes life intervenes and it's hard to find time to make wholesome food. Having a few recipes like jeera aloo in your culinary arsenal that you can whip up quickly and easily will help keep you from relying too much on high calorie takeout.
Yields: 8 servings3 pounds Russet potatoes (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ yellow onion, cut in small wedges
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste (see tips)
2 dried red chiles, stemmed
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon red chili pepper
½ teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon cumin, freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon mango powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, dry roasted
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
Par-boiling the potatoes (see tips): Wash the potatoes and place them whole in a large pot (no need to peel them). Fill it with cold water until the potatoes are barely covered. It's important to start with cold water so the potatoes cook evenly. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to medium-high (if you cook the potatoes at a roaring boil, they might fall apart). As soon as the water reaches a boil, cook for about 9-10 minutes. Test, using a fork; the potatoes should be slightly tender but still firm (not fully cooked). Remove from the pot. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and let them cool a little (do not rinse). Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle and have dried completely, remove the skin. Cut them into 1/4-inch slices.
Making zeera aloo:
In a non-stick large pan, heat the oil, add the onion and cook until slightly golden. Transfer the onions to a plate. Add more oil if necessary. Wait until the oil is really hot, almost at the smoking point. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and decrease the heat to medium-low. When the cumin seeds start popping (after 5-10 seconds), add the whole dried red chiles, ginger garlic paste, ground cumin and garam masala.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the sliced potatoes. Add mango powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice and sugar. Sauté by tossing the saucepan to prevent the potatoes from breaking (do not mix with a spoon). Add about ½ cup of water, cover with a lid and cook until tender. Let simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Once the water evaporates, check doneness (add more water and continue cooking if not fully cooked). Season with salt. Add the oninos and cook and stir for an additional minute.
Remove and discard the red chiles.
Russet potatoes are perfect for this dish. The flesh is very starchy. I added a combination of cayenne pepper and turmeric for a richer color and flavor but you can enhance the color with more paprika if you don't like a spicy kick from the cayenne pepper.
Parboiling means briefly boiling the potatoes. Think "par-tial" boiling = parboiling.
Zeera (cumin seeds in Urdu) can be found in any Indian store.
You've probably noticed I use ginger garlic paste a lot in my cooking. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger, carefully removing any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife or the edge of a spoon, then finely chop it. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender and, add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.
Mango powder brings acidity to dishes. If you cannot find it, you could add more lemon juice.
You can either make your own garam masala spice mix or buy it at any Indian store.
All the ingredients listed above can be found in any Indian market.Published By: on March 2, 2010.