Potato is a common and indispensable vegetable in most kitchens. At my home this didn’t hold true. The only time my mother cooked potatoes was in sambar. Sometimes in a potato gravy curry to go with appam. The reasons for not using potatoes was never discussed much – ‘gas’ being one of the issues.
My classmates would bring potato dishes galore to lunch and one of my favorite things was the masala that goes with the poori. For me in those years, the aloo masala dish was the best dish that was around. But couldn’t get that home. I tried many times to make the dish by myself, but I couldn’t recreate the colour and the taste. I have pretty much given up on the idea that I can recreate that dish.
This weekend we had gone to Philadelphia to stay with our friends and brought back some home made Kerala style fish curry. Coming home after class yesterday, I couldn’t think of anything to make for lunch to go with the fish. Mostly because there were no veggies at home and I was too lazy to go to the store. There were couple of potatoes starting to sprout in the kitchen and I decided to make something out of it. For me, the best accompaniment to a fish curry is a thoran. My choices for thoran were very very limited and so the obvious choice was potato. A quick look at my mother’s old cookbook confirmed that such a dish existed.
Potatoes – 2 large, diced.
Onion- half of a large onion, diced
Shredded coconut- 3/4 to 1 cup
Chilies- I used about 12 small ones. ( I was pairing it with a spicy fish curry, so adjusted the chilies for a small amount of heat. You can add more or less to your liking)
Salt- 1/2 tsp or adjust to taste.
Combine all the above. Use a spoon or your hands to mix.
Oil 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – one sprig, tear the leaves
I used a non- stick pan to cook this dish. Non stick pan is better as the potato doesn’t stick to the pan at all.
Heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start spluttering, add the curry leaves.
Follow that with the potato-onion- coconut mixture. Mix well to combine with the oil. Cook covered. Be sure to stir it every few minutes or just toss the pan . After about 10-15min the dish should be ready.
Check potaotes to see if they are cooked. Serve hot with rice.
The cooking time depends on the potatoes. I didn’t have to add any water. But if the potato takes long to cook, sprinkling some water and cooking it covered should help. ( I haven’t done this, but just thinking this might help)
Recipe source:Desperation and Lalitha Pachakam ( Malayalam cookbook by )
Time spent in the kitchen: 30mins.