from one generation to the next
My all time favourite travel destination is India. After three visits my enthusiasm for the sub continent has grown rather than waned. I am entranced by the history, the people, the colour, the food, the ingenuity of the poor, the creative non compliant road traffic, the overt all embracing religious practice, the optimistic spirit of life. All in all, mother India has me under her spell.
The smell of Indian food instantly transports me there so I cook with Indian spice combinations frequently. I generally make an attempt to create recipes that are genuine, using recipes from reliable Indian sources. Just sometimes I break out!
An Ottolenghi recipe from “Plenty” caught my eye today. Two Potato Vindaloo was the inspiration for my potato curry, which I served beside tandoori chicken, 3:2:1 rice, and kachumber topped with a good dollop of tart yoghurt.
Following the first part of the recipe I used the recommended spices, but there are so many in this dish that the individual fragrant distinction of each was lost. The remainder of the recipe ingredients and method was give and take. I omitted some elements and changed others.
Fragrant savoury potato curry can be delicious, but this version was a overly sweet for my liking. My chief taster however went back for thirds! The combination of sweet peppers, sweet potato, sweet tomatoes contrasted by the inclusion of tamarind paste (instead of the recommended vinegar) produced a flavour which was at odds with the spice, and sadly for me, a flavour bereft of India!
This is my adaptation of Ottalenghi’s Two Potato Vindaloo from his book “Plenty”.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
25 curry leaves
2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 red chilli, finely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
50 mls tamarind paste
400 mls water
400g unpeeled waxy potatoes cut into 2cm dice
1 sweet red peppers cut into 2cm dice
400g peeled sweet potato cut into 2cm dice
1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
Firstly make the spice powder. Heat a small skillet, then brown the cumin and coriander seeds until they darken and smell fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the cloves then grind them to a powder. Combine this spice powder with the turmeric, paprika and cinnamon. Set aside.
Finely chop the garlic, ginger and chilli together.
Heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Sizzle until they begin to pop. Add the tomatoes, peppers, water, curry leaves, tamarind, garlic, ginger and chilli.
Stir to combine then add the white potatoes and salt. Stir to coat the potatoes in sauce then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes, cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue cooking until the sauce is thick, roughly another 10 minutes.
Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Spoon into a serving bowl and scatter the chopped coriander on top.