Potatoes with Cumin (Aloo Jeera)
Aloo = Potato, Jeera = Cumin
Aloo + Jeera = Yum
It’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down and ramble on about food, I’ve been too busy catering. It seems the more I cook the food the less I have time to write about it.
We’re heading into a slowing-down time of year. Late October and November are often overcast and drizzly, and the brilliant leaves are on their way out leaving dull gray branches layered against gray background with no color or contrast. But I still love it. Maybe I like being given permission by the weather to be a little melancholy so I do, and then I can get on to the enjoyment of winter.
So cook those fall apples and squash and let the comfort-aromas fill your house. This savory recipe will warm your spirits too.
Partially cooked…but how partially? Not crunchy but not mushy. The idea is that they are mostly cooked so the final cooking step is faster, but they should not be mushy or they will be difficult to slice and handle. Par-boiled potatoes are also great for making hashbrowns.
You can either boil them for 6-10 minutes and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process like this method, or try a lazier way that I use:
In a heavy soup or sauce pan add the potatoes and cover with water. Bring them to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Let them sit for 8-15 minutes (depending on their size), enough to let the hot water partially cook the potatoes. Test by sticking a fork into the potatoes—the fork should slide in, but with a little resistance.
Cumin, or Cuminum cyminum, is related to caraway, parsley and dill. This potent little seed probably originated in Western Asia but has made its way into cooking all over the world, especially dishes of India, North Africa and Mexico. Rich in iron and vitamins A and C, it has also been used as a digestive aid and for relieving insomnia and minor pains. Jiraka is the Sanskrit word for cumin—jira (jeera) means “that which helps digestion”.
Amchoor (amchur) powder is from green mango that has been dried and ground, and can be found in Indian or Asian markets. It has a tart fruit flavor so substitutes could be tamarind paste, lime or lemon juice, or lime powder. In samosas I use fresh green mangoes because I want a wet texture for the filling, but this dish is more about a paste coating the potatoes so I probably would not use the fresh.
This tasty paste would also be great with:
- Garbanzo Beans
- Green Beans
- Roasted Tofu
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Aloo Jeera (Potatoes with Cumin)
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes for the potatoes, 10 minutes for the dish
Parboil, peel and cube:
3-4 Yukon Golds or Red Potatoes—about 3 1/2 cups cubed
Heat in a large sauté pan:
2-3 Tablespoons Ghee, Butter or Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1/2 Green Chile or Jalapeño Pepper—or less if you don’t want spicy
Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add:
1 Tablespoon Coriander, ground
1 Tablespoon Cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon Red Chile powder (like a New Mexico Chile), or mix a pinch of Cayenne into 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, grated, or 1/2 teaspoon Ginger Juice, or 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 teaspoon Amchur Powder, or 1/2 teaspoon Tamarind Paste, or 1 teaspoon Lemon or Lime Juice
Salt to taste—around 1 teaspoon
Mix together into a paste. Add:
the cubed Potatoes
Cook on a medium heat until the potatoes are hot, stirring to mix the paste evenly.
To release the spices from the pan, add:
Water — 1-4 Tablespoons
Serve topped with:
2-3 Tablespoons Cilantro, chopped