Sookha Alu Sabzi


Here is another recipe from the Indian home-cooking repertoire that is more a genre than a specific dish. Something like this preparation is made all over the country with regional variations but even within regions there will be significant variations in how it’s made. The point of the dish is not actually the exact flavours but the texture of the potatoes and the almost paste-like masala clinging to it when it’s done. I give you seemingly-precise instructions here but this is a classic andaaz-se (or “by estimation”) recipe. I myself make it a new way pretty much every time I make it. Play with it and make it your own. The ideal way to serve it in the Indian context is with chapatis/parathas and dal and achaar, and it’s also good with dal and rice. But there’s no reason you can’t serve it as a warm potato salad at a barbecue. Make and eat it as you would like.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs potatoes cut into thick wedges (or other thick shape of choice)
  • 1 large onion cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 tspn grated ginger
  • 1 tspn grated garlic
  • The following ground to a fine powder: 3-5 dried red chillies, a long piece of cinnamon/cassia bark, 1/2 tspn methi seeds, 1 heaped tspn coriander seeds, 1 heaped tspn cumin seeds
  • 1 tspn haldi
  • 1/2 tspn amchur
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Oil
  • Salt

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a large karhai or wok and add the thinly sliced onions. Saute till onions are golden brown.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute or so till the raw smell is gone.
  3. Add the ground masala, haldi and salt, mix and saute for another minute.
  4. Add the potatoes, mix in completely and stir-fry over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the water, mix in, cover and cook over medium-low heat till potatoes are done. Uncover and stir from time to time to make sure the potatoes don’t burn at the bottom of the karhai.
  6. Just before the potatoes are done, mix in the amchur and cook for another minute or two.
  7. Serve with chapatis and dal or rice and dal.

Notes

  1. It is important to cut the potatoes thickly no matter what shape you cut them in.
  2. At the end there should be no water in the pan; the masala should be coating the potatoes. When done the potatoes should still be holding their shape and resisting the tooth a little.
  3. You don’t want the potatoes to burn but a bit of char is nice; just a bit.
  4. If you don’t have amchur squeeze half a lime over at the end.
  5. As with simple recipes of this nature feel free to adjust the ratio of the masala ingredients to your preference.

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