A ridiculously simple and tasty curry, I made this first when I was 15. Mom had to leave us for a few days and I was in charge of making food. This stir-fry calls for least effort and I make it even today at least once a fortnight and yet none of us tire of it. In case you wondered what other things I made at 15. I kept alternating between rava upma and semiya upma for breakfast and tiffin for the next four days until dad got tired, and when mom returned he pleaded that she was not to make upma for at least a month. I bet your first dish was potato based too!
We make several dry roasts and potatoes are a staple. Jr. P loves this style of potatoes and he coined the term ‘pachki aloo’ for this roast. The reason is that the potatoes (aloo in Hindi) are cooked and when roasted with the onions and spices, some of the potatoes get squished with the spices and form a coating for the slices that are whole. ‘Pachki’ in Hindi means squishing. To us this is pachki aloo. Left over pachki aloo makes a very good spread for sandwich toasts, filling for batter dip bondas or can be tweaked to make samosa or paratha.
In South curry refers to dry roasts and not red spicy gravies as generally made out. Forget the measurements and just let your sense of taste lead you.
Recipe : Ullukazhanga curry | Potato roast, South Indian style | Pachki aloo
Classic combination: Tastes best with spicy rasam, morkootan or chinna vengaaya sambar
Potatoes – 4 big ones, scrub and cut into eighths with skin
Onion – 2 medium, chopped fine
Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.
Salt – To taste
Red Chilli Powder – 3/4 to 1 tsp.
Oil – 1 tbsp.
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp.
Chana dal – 1 tsp.
Curry leaves – 5 to 6 sprigs, cleaned and chopped
Dhania leaves – optional – for garnishing
Boil, cool, skin and break the potatoes roughly with a spoon or chop into big chunks, and set aside. Chop onions finely and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok. When hot, add chana dal. As soon as the chana dal changes colour, crackle mustard seeds & chopped curry leaves.
Add onions and roast till nice and brown on medium flame, stirring continously.
Add the potatoes, turmeric, sambar powder, salt and red chilli powder. Toss till the potatoes get coated nicely and keep for some time on low flame till gets a light roasted layer stuck to the wok. Put off fire.
Remove from container immediately. I let it roast for sometime only because I like the layer that sticks very much – if you do not like the idea remove when the potatoes get coated nicely.