Serving
(click to enlarge)

Fried Taro or Potatoes
India - South
  -   Chepangkizhangu Roast
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
5 side  
**
45 min  
Part

If you want a side dish that'll really be noticed, this will fill the bill. Much like American pan roasted potatoes but with a lot more flavor. In Southern India this recipe would more often be made with Colocasia (Taro), but potatoes are also used and have better flavor in my opinion. This dish can be served either warm or at room temperature and makes a good buffet side.




2-1/4
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1
1
1
1
3
1/8
few
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4
1/2
3/4
1/2
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t
t
t
t

t

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T
t
t
T
Potatoes (1)
-- Spices
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Chana Dal (2)
Urad Dal (2)
Chili, dry (3)
Asafoetida (4)
Curry Leaves (5)
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Oil (6)
Turmeric
Salt
Sambar Powder (7)

PREP   -   (25 min - 8 min work)
  1. Peel POTATOES and cut into cubes 3/4 to 1 inch on a side. Put them in a pot with plenty of lightly salted water, bring to a boil and cook until the cubes are just cooked through. Drain well and hold until needed.
  2. Stem CHILIS and break in half. Crush CHANA DAL lightly into pieces similar to the Urad Dal. Mix together All Spices items.
RUN   -   (35 min)
  1. In a large, well seasoned iron skillet or similar, heat Oil hot. Stir in Spices mix (careful, the Curry Leaves will splatter a bit) and fry stirring until mustard seeds start to pop.
  2. Stir in Potatoes, Turmeric and Salt. See also Note-8 for method.
  3. Fry over decreasing heat, turning gently every few minutes until potatoes are nicely golden (about 30 minutes). It should not smoke at any time.
  4. Sprinkle with Sambar Powder and serve warm. If you think it's already as hot as your guests can take, you can skip the Sambar Powder without ruining the recipe, but I prefer the extra flavor. In my opinion, a sprinkle of lime juice would go well with these too.
NOTES:
  1. Potatoes:   I use White Rose, which are firm enough to survive the frying without crumbling. Red potatoes are a little more delicate but could work. For details see our Potatoes page. If you use Taro, (available in markets serving any community of tropical origin) the process is pretty much the same. For details see our Taro / Colocasia page.
  2. Dal:   Chana is peeled and split chick peas (the small Indian ones); Urad, (black gram) are tiny and very white, thought the beans they are split from are black. For details see our Beans, Peas & Lentils page.
  3. Chili:   Dry red Thai chilis or Arbols will work fine and make the dish fairly hot. If you have doubts, use the common Japones which are not as hot. For details see our Chili Page.
  4. Asafoetida;   This amount is for pure ayurvedic grade powdered asafoetida. If you are using the common "hing powder" use 3 times as much since it's cut by about that amount with rice flour. If you don't have Asafoetida, fry some chopped onion with the potatoes. For details see our Asafoetida page.
  5. Curry Leaves   If you don't have these, omit. there's really no effective substitute and they aren't very good dried. Not long ago these were very difficult to find, but enough are now grown in California that most Indian markets have them in plastic envelopes. For details see our Curry Leaf page.
  6. Oil:   Coconut oil is appropriate for the region, and what I use - though our de-odorized coconut oil from the Philippines is a little different from what they use in southern India. Pure Olive Oil (not virgin) can also be used.
  7. Sambar Powder:   This is a little different from the Porial powder called for by the original recipe, but pretty similar. so why stock yet another masala? Here's our recipe for Sambar Powder.
  8. Method:   I'm usually making this with 5 to 7 pounds of potatoes, so I do it a little differently than in India. I cook and drain the potatoes as above. I heat the appropriate amount of oil to 400°F/200:°C in a smaller skillet and pour in the Spices mix. When the curry leaves have settled down and the mustard seeds start to pop well I pour it all into an electric skillet and add the Potatoes, Turmeric and Salt. I then fry at abut 275°F/135°C, shuffling them around frequently until lightly browned. The electric skillet is very good for frying potatoes, it's non-stick, has excellent temperature stability, and it leaves the stove free for other uses. The photo example was pan fried, thus not so evenly browned.
  9. 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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