Potatoes are one of my favorite foods because of its diverse possibilities. They can be fried, mashed, boiled, grilled, made into pancakes and so on; not to mention the variety of types of potatoes available. Trying potato recipes from other cultures is also a fun and delicious way to experience this root vegetable.
Whenever I want to impress dinner guests I whip out these potatoes that are a slight rendition from a Bengali dish called Aloo Posto which means potato white poppy seed. I don’t use the white poppy seeds because it requires sprouting the seeds over night to match the traditional method. Instead I just make the potatoes and have occasionally thrown in onions.
To make these delicious, savory, warm spiced potatoes you’ll need these ingredients:
5 Tbsp Mustard Oil, option to add coconut oil for extra frying
1 ½ Tbsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Asafoetida or “Hing”
3 Large Baking Potatoes Cubed
1 Tsp Salt
3 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Sugar
Any Indian grocery supplier will carry mustard oil and asafoetida. You may want to ask for hing instead of asafoetida as that is the Hindi name for the root spice.
Pour the oil into your frying or sauté pan and heat up on medium heat. Add the turmeric and asafoetida and let it roast or fry in the oil for a minute to infuse the oil with these flavors. Shake the pan to get the spices equally integrated into the oil. Add the cubed potatoes, turning them in the pan to coat each potato cube with the yellow, spiced oil. Sprinkle the salt over the potatoes, turning them to equally distribute the salt. Cover the pan with a lid and let this sit on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are beginning to soften. At this time, check to make sure enough salt has been added. Add more to taste.
At this point you can add the butter. Let the butter melt. Coat each potato cube with the butter by turning them over a couple times. Then sprinkle the sugar on top and turn the potatoes more to mix the sugar down onto the potatoes at the bottom of the pan.
Now the potatoes are ready to cook for about 10-20 more minutes turning the potatoes every few minutes to allow as many as possible to get a golden, candied outer crust and soft interior. If there is excessive moisture in the pan, do not cover the pan. Let it cook without a lid to evaporate some moisture so the potatoes can get crisp outer edges. Serve hot.
It should be noted that I always make this dish by estimations and these quantities are roughly what I use. Each ingredient can be adjusted to personal preference. Also, other ingredients may enhance the dish such as adding seeds, green onions, cilantro or regular onions. It’s a great dish to improvise with depending on personal taste. Happy cooking!
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