The cuisine in India is as diverse as it's people. Potato curry is the Indian equivalent of a burger. It is cheap as chips, not really served in restaurants and more prevalent in little eating shacks in small streets served with puris (puffed Indian fried bread). It is fast and convenient and graces family tables for a quick weeknight dinner or is ladled into dabbas (steel tiered lunch boxes that are wheeled around by the dozen on bicycles and delivered to offices for lunch). With 28 states, each region has it's own version of potato curry.
The version I share today is from the Western state of Gujarat where I have my roots. It is distinguished by the sweetness accompanying the spiciness. The presence of sugar and the use of coconut instantly pegs it down to Western India. It is a delicious curry which is very easy to make and absolutely fuss-free. It freezes well and can be made ahead because it tastes even better after the spices have developed their flavour the next day. Sometimes I like to leave the skin of the potatoes on especially if they are new potatoes and I have managed to scrub them clean. It gives a rustic feel to the curry that is complimented by fire-roasted rotis. You can also make variations to this curry by adding some green peas or cauliflower florets when you add the potatoes.
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SPICY POTATO CURRY
- 4 medium potatoes, 700g approx, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 to matoes
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger
- 1 small green chili
- 1/4 cup coriander stalks
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar
- salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red chili, optional
- 1-1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut
- coriander leaves, to serve
- Purée tomatoes, ginger, green chili and coriander stalks with a quarter cup of water in a food processor or blender.
- Heat oil in a deep pan on medium. Sauté cumin seeds until starting to brown. Add the potatoes and sauté for 5-6 minutes until potatoes are glazed. Add the tomato mixture, sugar, salt, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander and chili powder (if using). Mix well. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomato mixture starts turning fragrant and darker in colour.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the water. Start with one cup of water. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Then cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.
- If you like a dry curry (like the one in the pictures), cook the curry for another 10 minutes (uncovered) to dry up the liquid. If you like a saucy curry and feel it is drying up quickly, add a little more water. (The amount of liquid is determined by the type and amount of potato used).
- Garnish with coriander leaves and coconut. Serve hot.