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Ginger Potatoes & Crunchy Cucumber Raita

August 28, 2010

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.

Ginger Potatoes

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

1 cucumber

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.

  1. Rappenwolf permalink
    August 28, 2010 11:40 pm

    Now you’re getting right at my heart. I love Indian food, grinding my own spices, etc. My favorite dish is a nice aloo gobi without the tomatoes. My doctor is from India and I asked if there is anyone in Ames who teaches Indian cooking (I did find one). She recommended any cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey. Just about every recipe is delicious and fun to make. We have her memoirs at the library and there is a good book there too about the history of food in India. It seems nothing really came from India itself–everything comes from every other culture. Okay, okay–I am getting loopy, it’s almost midnight, I need to shut up, go to bed….

  2. August 29, 2010 11:35 am

    I love Madhur Jaffrey — I have several of her books. Since she learned to cook only after leaving India for boarding school in England, she’s used to converting Indian recipes to Western cookware and ingredients, which makes them so much more accessible for American cooks. You’ll have to tell me about your Indian cooking lessons the next time I see you!

  3. Rappenwolf permalink
    August 29, 2010 6:58 pm

    Have you tried her Mughlai chicken? Making the almond paste marinade is so interesting and there are never any leftovers. My group of friends, the Margarita Committee, are food and wine enthusiasts, so last year I gave a party where everyone had to bring homemade Indian food. We ate and then watched a Bollywood movie. My memories of the food included 2 dals, aloo gobi, and chai from me, a hot hot hot chicken curry, a venison curry, a couple more veggie dishes, raita, and two kinds of bread, all homemade. The name of the Indian cooking teacher and writer escapes me at the moment but I met her at Wheatsfield when she was promoting her vegan cookbook. Now I get her e-newsletter and I will forward it next time. She is a bit pricey for lessons– something like at least 10 students at $80 per person at her place or ours and she provides everything. I am thinking our group might do it sometime, though. See you!

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