Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Which Kate wonders when a recipe becomes hers

Recipes evolve. Sometimes you're out of one ingredient and need to substitute another. You may not like an ingredient, but like everything else about the recipe. Sometimes local ingredients creep into your traditional cuisine, even if the tradition is based hundreds of miles away. I'm pretty sure that's how we got the California roll (nothing against the California roll, mind you. I do prefer my avocados with eels, though)

A while back, I bought some hing powder. I'd originally bought it for the possibility of making samosas, but after realizing that none of my cooking equipment was really appropriate for deep frying, I scrapped that idea. Anyway, I came across this recipe and thought it sounded tasty. Then, upon my second reading, I noticed that the author got it from Manjula's Kitchen. So I thought, why not go to the source?

Well, remember what I said about being out of ingredients? Yeah, that. While Manjula's recipe is, I suspect, more authentic, there are some things like fenugeek seeds that I don't usually have in the house. Manjula also didn't use mustard or hing, but she did use coriander, which I love.

So following both recipes, I came up with this:

4 small new potatoes, chopped into cubes My personal definition of a "small" potato is one about the size of my fist. I'm 5'3". Cubes here, I typically make about 1"
2 Tablespoons Oil I had also bought peanut oil in preparation for the aborted deep frying. I've also used olive oil and they've been wonderful either way
1 teaspoon cumin powder  I was out of seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon hing
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
about six grinds of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 long green chile or two serranos chopped the serranos were about three inches long. I liked it better with the serranos, but the milder lighter green chile (I forget its full correct name) was also tasty

Heat oil in pan on medium heat. When oil is hot (test with a drop of water, listen for sizzle), add seeds, stirring well until seeds start to pop. Add powdered spices, and stir a few times. Add potatoes and about 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (occasionally for me means every 3-4 minutes). When you can comfortably pierce a potato with a fork, add the peppers and stir well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, until peppers are soft, but still have a little crunch to them.

Serve topped with yogurt, if you wish. Fight over leftovers with boyfriend. Consider a success.

So what do you think folks, can I call the above "Kate's spicy potatoes?"

Other comments, questions, recipes, let me know!


  1. I don't see why you couldn't call it that. Have you tried poblanos or jalapenos in it?


  2. Beki--

    I love poblanos, but I'm worried they might be too mild and get lost in all the spiciness. Jalapenos may work on the other hand, I'll give it a shot!

  3. A pinch of hing works very nicely in cooked spinach dishes.