Popular throughout Northern India, this dish is a lovely combination of tastes and textures
3 medium-large low-starch potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons ghee (see note) or vegetable oil
2 hot green chilies, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro roots and stems plus leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
small pinch of asafetida (optional)
4 small tomatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled, seeded, and chopped
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon Indian chili powder or ground red pepper
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen tiny green peas
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Peel the potatoes and cut in 1/2-inch dice. Boil the potatoes in salted water to cover, in a medium saucepan, until cooked through but still firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, toast the coriander in a small skillet over moderately high heat, shaking the pan, until the seeds are aromatic, about 2 minutes. Let seeds cool completely and grind to a fine powder in a coffee/spice grinder.
3. Heat the ghee or vegetable oil in a large skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chilies, ginger, cilantro stems and roots, cumin, garam masala, black mustard seeds, turmeric, and freshly ground coriander. Cook, stirring, until mustard seeds pop, about 3 minutes. Add the optional asafetida, stirring. Stir in the tomatoes, salt well, and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes release their liquid and begin to form a sauce, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the potatoes and Indian chili powder, and cook gently for 3 minutes. Add the peas, and cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, and serve immediately.
Note: To make ghee, melt one stick (4 ounces) of butter until the residue at the bottom has turned golden brown, strain off clear liquid, and discard the solids.
Popular throughout Northern India, this dish is a lovely combination of tastes and textures. It will make you swear off prepared curry powder forever, because the blend of spices in the dish results in a remarkable layering of flavors. This version is quite hot; adjust the amount of green chilies and Indian chili powder to your own taste. Serves 6