Serving
(click to enlarge)

Potatoes & Peas
India
- North   -   Alu Matar
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
Do ahead:  
2 main  
***
1 hr
Yes

Very popular in northern India, this dish goes well with hot chapatis or similar breads. Since I almost never have those on hand I serve it with basmati rice, and it works fine that way as well. Note, however, that whole wheat tortillas are pretty much indistinguishable from commercial chapatis.



1
12
1-1/2
6
2
------
1/2
1/4
1/4
1/2
------
3
1
1/2
-----
#
oz
c
oz
cl
---
t
t
t
t
---
T
c
t
--
Potatoes (1)
Tomatoes, ripe
Green Peas (2)
Onion
Garlic
-- Spicing
Coriander seeds
Turmeric
Garam Masala (3)  
Salt
---------
Oil or ghee (4)
Water
Chili powder (5)
-- Garnish
Cilantro leaves
PREP   -   (15 minutes)
  1. Peel POTATOES and cut into 3/4 inch cubes. Hold in cold water until needed.
  2. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water and peel. Chop very fine.
  3. Thaw PEAS if frozen, shell if fresh.
  4. Chop ONION fine. Crush Garlic and chop fine. Mix.
  5. Grind CORIANDER and mix all Spicing items.
RUN   -   (45 min)
  1. In a spacious coverable sauté pan, heat Oil and stir in Onion mix. Fry stirring over moderate heat until the onions are light golden.
  2. Stir in Spice mix until well incorporated, then Tomatoes. Fry stirring, reducing heat as required, until moisture is evaporated from the tomatoes and the oil starts to separate.
  3. Drain Potatoes and stir them in until well incorporated with the sauce. Add Water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Give it a stir. If using Fresh Peas stir them in now. Continue to simmer covered for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  5. If using Frozen Peas stir them in now and simmer another 2 minutes to heat through.
  6. Adjust liquid if needed, taste for Salt and stir in Chili Powder. Serve garnished with chopped Cilantro. Chapatis or similar breads are the traditional accompaniment.
NOTES:
  1. Potatoes:   Medium potatoes like White Rose produce good results in this dish, while boilers might be too hard. Note the sharp edges on the potatoes. Acid in the tomatoes stiffens the outside of the potatoes. For details see our Potatoes Page.
  2. Peas:   In India these would be fresh peas, but we presume frozen peas here on a cost/benefit basis. If you do use fresh peas they go in earlier.
  3. Garam Masala   This is the basic spice mix of northern India. Here's the recipe for the version I use: Garam Masala.
  4. Ghee / Oil:   Ghee is thoroughly clarified butter. While the AHA has pounded into the conciousness of America that butter is a heart killer and you sould use trans fats (marigerine) or polyunsaturated oils instead, the opposite is now known to be true. If, however, you still want to avoid butter, Über expert Julie Sahni approves of Pure Olive Oil (not virgin) for Indian cooking.
  5. Chili Powder:   Kashmir chili (fairly mild) is a good choice for this northern dish, or Korean (a little less) if you don't have Kashmir. For details, see our Chili Page.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

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