Monday, September 19, 2011
Aloo - Potato
Bhaji - Indian dish consisting of vegetables, especially onion
(my first attempt at Aloo Bhaji = admitting publicly just how lacking my knowledge of this cuisine was. Feel free to laugh at my mistakes in the recipe below.) Regardless of my mistakes, this was delicious. Aloo Bhaji is something that we will be making again and I love that I now have a fun new name for what was simply a great potato dish. The flavors surprised me and we even found a new spice to add to our collection. The chile blended with the potatoes and provided much more flavor than I expected.
Today is the September reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. This month I was assigned the blog My Hobbie Lobbie. This blog is written by Trisha and she lives in India. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed because I had never even considered cooking Indian foods. I assumed that it would be difficult. While she has numerous delicious sounding desserts posted, I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.
I think I clicked on every single recipe in her extensive list, before I settled on something that contained one of my favorite ingredients. Green chile! Did you think for a minute that it could be anything else? Perhaps it shows my ridiculous naivete, but I truly thought of green chile as being more exclusive to my own southwestern part of the world. Silly, right?
Here is the recipe as Trisha originally posted it. The recipe below reflects my adaptation. (Yes, I changed it a bit. I was a complete novice in the world of Indian food and couldn't find a couple of things that were included.)
3 medium size potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed (I am going to roast these next time, because we prefer the texture of crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside roasted potatoes.)
1 large yellow onion, chopped into 1" pieces
2 green chiles, cut into 1/2"-1" pieces
8 basil leaves, very thinly sliced *see note below
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds, I used yellow ones
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (first time using this spice and we really liked the flavor it added to the onions)
1-2 tablespoons fresh coriander or cilantro leaves, chopped **see second note below
juice of 1/4 lime, about 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon light flavored olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter. Add the basil and then add the chopped chile and let it release it's flavor into the oil for a couple minutes.
Add the chopped onions and saute it for a few minutes, stirring infrequently, until the onions have softened and turned brown on the edges. Add the turmeric powder and stir well to coat the onions. Let it cook for about a minute longer and stir to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan.
Add the lime juice and salt to taste. Stir well. Add the potatoes and toss gently to coat the potatoes with the spice mixture. Check the seasonings and adjust as desired. Once the potatoes have warmed in the skillet, sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and and toss lightly. Remove from the heat and serve hot.
* The original recipe called for fresh curry leaves. I couldn't find them locally, so I assumed that curry powder would be an acceptable substitute. When I double checked to make sure, I discovered that curry powder does not contain any curry leaves at all! Who knew?! (Seriously, I want to know if anyone reading this actually knew that!) The recommended substitute was basil leaves, but obviously, the flavor would have been quite different with the original curry leaves.
** In the interest of honesty here, I'm admitting that I didn't know coriander was cilantro, so when I couldn't find coriander at the store, I left it out. I purchased some dried coriander, but it really did not fit into the recipe the way it was originally written, so I left it out in the end.
Side note: Did you notice the ridiculously small portion shown in the picture? This was so tasty that we ate more of it than I expected and I had almost nothing left to photograph! That should teach me not to skip taking a picture before we eat dinner.