Monday, September 19, 2011

Aloo Bhaji

Aloo Bhaji recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Quick definition here for those of you who might be wondering what on earth I am posting today:
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.)

Aloo Bhaji
(printable recipe)

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.

39 comments:

  1. Thi seem yummy way to enchance good old potato;)

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  2. I have made potatoes with onion and chile peppers but never added the othe ingredients. I know my Hubs would love this. Thanks Mary for another recipe to try.

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  3. Mary, I'm so glad you liked it. And you know what, I think your idea of roasting the potatoes is fabulous. We've always made it this way and I guess it didn't occur to me to change things up! I probably would've never thought of it. I can't wait to see what it turns out like!

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  4. Funny how the spices we are used to with cooking in the SW here are a lot of the same flavors in this Indian dish. Sounds delicious!

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  5. Awesome that you stepped out of your comfy zone. I did the same thing this month (but sorta the opposite of you, I did dessert). I love Aloo Gobi (potatoes w/ cauliflower) so I'm sure I'd love this too. Yum!

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  6. Such a great way to treat potatoes! I am a complete Indian food novice, too, but I love to eat it in restaurants. Maybe I will get Trisha's blog soon :-)

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  7. I love this recipe -Im a huge fan of Indian food ands pices.

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  8. I have eaten something similar, including potato with cauli (popoular in Indian restaurants). Its quite simple and delicious.

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  9. Love a new potato recipe! Sounds delicious, Mary!
    You made me laugh only because I had no idea about the corianderor the curry leaves. I feel edjamacated now! ;-)
    I laughed about the picture, too. Either you wait to take the pictures and have hardly anything left or you take the picture while listening to the ravenous family members grumbling, "Can't we eat yet??!!"
    Oh, the sacrifices.

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  10. Thanks for giving the background about this dish. I love potato recipes and ethnic recipes so looks like this is a recipe for me! Happy SRC reveal day, check out my post at http://savourthesensesblog.com/plum-crunch-my-src-post/ =)

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  11. The only reason why I know that curry leaves and curry powder are not the same thing is thanks to a cooking class I took a year or so ago, called "Curries of the World." The stuff we made in class was AMAZING. I have yet to be able to replicate it at home. Ug. But curries, particularly of the Indian variety, are our favorite food. Will definitely be trying this one out. Thanks also for the link!

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  12. This looks like a great recipe. It is fun cooking with you in the SRC. Hope you are having a great day and thanks for sharing!
    Miz Helen

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  13. It's so fun to be part of something that pushes the envelope of your cooking repertoire. This dish looks yummy!

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  14. oh wow! this sounds so flavorful!! i love it already.

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  15. Stopping by from group B. So fun to be in the Secret Recipe Club with you. Great Post! Way to step out there and post something unfamiliar to you. I love Indian food and I have to admit, cooking with all the new and different spices can be intimidating...you did a great job!

    If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to drop by my blog and check out my SRC recipe this month: Avocado Omelet

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  16. wow this sounds so full of flavor and delicious - got to try this!
    Mary

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  17. That looks like an excellent potato and onion dish for a cold day!

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  18. Great job on your first attempt at cooking Indian food, your aloo bhaji sounds wonderful.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my group "A" SRC recipe this month: Welsh Cakes.

    Lisa~~
    Cook Lisa Cook

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  19. I would have never known cilantro was the same as coriander!

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  20. I would have loved to have the chance to try a dish from Trisha's blog - I love Indian food. Looks terrific, great choice for SRC!

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  21. I will admit, I did know that curry powder doesn't contain any curry leaves...probably because I watch way too many cooking shows and my reading material consists of reading actual cookbooks. And with the whole coriander/cilantro thing, they are actually the same plant. The seeds get ground up into what we know as dry coriander yet we call the leaves cilantro, here in North America. Overseas they simplify it by calling it all coriander (which really makes a lot more sense when you think about it). Hopefully that provides some insight!

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  22. One of my favorite ways to cook potato. It is amazing,

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  23. These potatoes sound wonderful. It fun to step out of your comfort zone once in a while.

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  24. So basically these are hashbrowns on steroids! Thanks for doing such an excellent job of explaining what the recipe was.

    I'm new to the SRC this month. I hope you'll stop by and pay me a visit.

    :)
    ButterYum

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  25. full of flavor and spices I surely have never used. Sounds delicious andi

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  26. Simply delicious. Indian cooking is not as tough as it looks. I am happy you tried your hand at it & like what you made. Happy experimenting.

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  27. The Secret Recipe Club sounds like great fun - and a great way to break out of the usual cooking-comfort zone. This looks delicious, glad you put the definitions up top!

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  28. I think you guys are gonna be indian food loving converts! Aloo bhaji is a great dish to start with for people who don't eat Indian food too often. And it looks so delicious here! I've never seen fresh curry leaves in stores ever, but I bought a package of dried ones from my local spice shop. I can send you a package if you want!

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  29. I am a huge fan of Indian food so I will have to take a look at her site. I have made a dish with some similar flavors that has cauliflower, peas and potatoes. This looks like a great side dish. The basil/chile combo is interesting, for sure.

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  30. We love Indian food but I've never made any at home. This looks delicious. Stopping by from SRC!

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  31. I bet those spices add so much flavor! This sounds like a keeper! I'm just now starting to LOVE Indian food :)

    Thanks for commenting on my SRC post, Mary! :)

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  32. This is awesome. I love not only finding things to eat that I've never heard of or tried before, but finding an easy to follow recipe for such a flavorful, spice filled potato dish? That's like the ultimate. I love potatoes, and the idea of changing them up to create this awesome dish is perfect! Great pick for SRC.
    Mary, I had no idea that Coriander and Cilantro were one in the same... had no idea. Thanks for teaching me something new!

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  33. Yum! Looks great -- I'm loving SRC, so many new recipes to try! This will be a great side next time I make Indian food.

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  34. Joanne - you are awesome to offer to mail the leaves to me. I'm going to research a spice store here in the valley. I'm in a huge city, so there has to be a store like that here. Besides, just think of all the trouble I could find at a cool store like that?!

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  35. Too funny, I was make my family wait until after food is photographed before they are allowed to eat! :-) Doesn't always work!!!

    Thanks for participating in the SRC with me (Group B). Here is my post from this month: Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie.

    http://momscrazycooking.blogspot.com/2011/09/pioneer-womans-chicken-pot-pie-secret.html

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  36. I really like the idea behind this SRC idea. It sounds like a lot of fun.

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  37. I have never made Aloo Bhaji but it is one of my favorite Indian dishes. Fun being in the Secret Recipe Club with you. I baked up tarts this month for Group C http://su.pr/2rtACr

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