Photographer: Todd Zawistowski
This combination of potato-gravy comfort and heat-you-to-your-toes spices gets it done on a cold Northern night. The recipe is courtesy of NJ’s Market in Lake Leelanau, owned by Reena and Sam Arora, both from India. All of the spices in the recipe are available at NJ’s. If you’re more carryout-type than cook, call ahead and ask them to stock it in their deli case for you: 231-256-9195. Use Michigan round white potatoes—our own locally grown tubers are just plain the best on the market.
1 pound potatoes
3–4 medium, fresh chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon oil or ghee
1 teapoon cumin seeds or Nigella/kalaunji seeds or mustard seed/rai
Large pinch of asafoetida powder (optional)
1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder or to taste
2 tablespoons dry methi leaves (optional)
(Or substitute 2 tablespoons curry for the turmeric, coriander, chili powder and methi leaves)
Salt to taste
1 1/2 - 2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon garam masala
Handful of chopped coriander leaves
1. Boil or microwave potatoes in their skin.
2. Cool, peel and break or chop into bite-size pieces. If you are looking for thick gravy, mash the potatoes lightly with your hand, without breaking them completely. Or, mash a few pieces completely.
3. Heat oil in a pan.
4. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida. When seeds splutter, add ginger and fry for a few seconds.
5. Add tomatoes, all the remaining spices (you can use curry powder instead of all these spices) and salt. If using methi leaves, also add them now.
6. Fry until oil separates from the mixture.
7. Add potatoes and stir gently.
8. Add water and bring to boil. Amount of water depends upon how thick you like your curry gravy to be. Some people like this dish with a thick gravy that can be served on the dinner plate directly. Others prefer quite a runny gravy, which has to be served in small bowls (Indian katori). Start by adding less and increase it to what is right for you. The choice is yours.
9. Simmer for a few minutes.
10. Turn heat off and add garam masala and coriander leaves.
11. Serve hot with chapatties or plain parathas, poories, nan or steamed rice.