Ginger Potatoes & Crunchy Cucumber Raita
Variations on this spicy dish were a dinnertime staple during my college days. It’s full of Indian flavors, and can be served as a side dish or a main course with some yogurt or cucumber raita and crusty bread — if you’ve got some naan handy, so much the better. I usually make this dish with Yukon Gold potatoes, but I could not resist these adorable Baby Dutch Gold ‘taters at the market this week. In the depths of winter, I’ll make this with canned, diced tomatoes, but with all of the local August bounty available right now, I used sweet grape tomatoes instead.
2 lbs potatoes, boiled and cut into bite-size pieces (and peeled, if desired)
2-3 inch piece ginger root, peeled
1 large clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped
[OR 1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes]
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1 cup water
salt to taste
Whiz the ginger root and garlic clove in a food processor with 1-2 Tbsp water until they form a loose paste. Heat the oil or butter over medium-high heat.
Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric. Stir for 15 seconds.
Carefully add the ginger-garlic paste and stir while it cooks, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, the ground cumin, the ground coriander, and the cayenne. Stir occasionally as the tomatoes cook down, about 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes, and stir to coat with the tomato-spice mixture. Add water and salt, cover, and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove cover and simmer a few more minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken up. Serve with bread and plain yogurt, or cucumber raita.
Crunchy Cucumber Raita
2 cups plain yogurt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
salt to taste
In a dry pan, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat until they are toasted and fragrant. Grind them to powder with a mortar & pestle, or in a clean coffee or spice grinder. Peel, seed, and grate the cucumber. Mix in the yogurt. Add the toasted, ground cumin, chopped mint, and salt to taste. This is a refreshing snack all by itself, but it’s also a cooling condiment with spicy dishes.