371. Panchporan Aloo (Basics etc.)
This Indian recipe, for cubed potatoes fried in whole spices, appears in the Christmas section of the Basics etc. chapter, and is recommended as an accompaniment for any cold cuts remaining from the Christmas feast. It's been a while since Christmas, but I seem to have missed this recipe. Oh well.
I made it suprisingly quickly, in the 45 minutes between the time I arrived home from uni and the time Desperate Housewives started. In fact, upon reading the recipe it sounds like it would take ages, but the cooking is surprisingly fast, and the eating is disproportinately gratifying.
You cut some potatoes into small cubes (I cut them very small - figuring that the smaller they were cut, the faster they would cook), stir fry them in some oil, and then turn the heat down and cover them. Nigella says to leave them until they're "a little more than half done", which I guestimated would be about 8 minutes. At this point, you remove the lid and add turmeric and red chilli powder, followed by various whole spices. The seeds the recipe calls for are fenugreek, nigella, black mustard, white cumin and fennel. I didn't have fenugreek, so omitted it. I did have nigella (naturally) and fennel seeds, but no black mustard or white cumin seeds. I substituted ordinary mustard seeds and powdered cumin.
Once all the spices are added and stirred in, you have to put the lid back on and let the potato cubes cook through. This took, again, about 8 minutes. I love the way that the addition of tumeric (that's the way we spell it at home, none of this "turmeric" business) instantly dyes everything a vibrant golden yellow.
I ate the potatoes sprinkled with freshly chopped coriander, and served with leftover chicken, vegetables and hollandaise sauce from last night's dinner.
The potatoes are extremely delicious - crunchy and spicy and salty and golden, and so easy! I highly recommend them; they hardly take any time or effort to make, and they're just so good!