Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spicy Potatoes for Comfort

Jihva for Love made me think immediately of my mother. My mother was and is my inspiration to cook. I don't think I'll ever be as creative and adventurous in my cooking as she is, but I strive to be. Growing up, we took her cooking for granted. I didn't pay attention when my friends would love to come over and actually ask my mom to make their favorites.

Every week my mom would try out one or two new dishes on us. We were exposed to international foods very early in our lives. Tacos, home-made pizzas, noodles, pasta, cheese-baked vegetables...the list goes on. She got us to love soups and salads, and to taste everything. Our palettes became quite refined as we grew older.

Sundays were always family time. For about 40 years (I hear!), we've had the exact same menu for breakfast and lunch on Sunday. FORTY years! And we look forward to it every sunday! Breakfast is always dosas with small onion sambar, coconut chutney and milagai podi (a spicy powder made with roasted lentils and chillies). Lunch is always small, spicy potatoes, rasam, and peas (or sometimes if peas weren't available, carrot).

When I moved to the US, I'd make my sunday lunch as a special treat for myself when I was home-sick, or needed comforting. It always reminded me of home and of my mother. I have now continued this tradition in my house. And I try very hard to make my daughter as exposed to international foods as I was.

Every sunday though, our menu doesn't change. And I hope I can carry on the tradition. And I hope my daughter's friends will soon be asking me for their favorites! This is the potatoes we always made at home - its very near and dear to my heart for it will always represent sundays with my family, reading the newspaper and chatting about the week.

Spicy Potatoes

1/2 kg small (new) potatoes, peeled
2 tsp chilli powder*
Salt, to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 tbsp oil
4-5 curry leaves

Pierce each potato with a fork once or twice, and cook in salted water. Remove when they are parboiled or slightly resistant to a knife.

Heat oil in a pan. Saute the garlic, curry leaves and chilli powder for about 2-3 minutes (or until the raw smell of garlic has disappeared). Add the potatoes and toss to coat with the spices. Continue cooking on a low heat, until the potatoes are cooked through.

*(Sometimes I use crushed red pepper instead of chilli powder, and that tastes great too).

Here's to family food traditions.

I want to thank Indira for this event and Jigyasa and Prathibha for choosing this theme that allowed me to recognize my mother and all the unspoken ways she passes on wisdom. My mother wasn't okay with having her picture in the blog, and so I couldn't post it...


Roma said...

Exact same Sunday menu for 40 yrs... It must be like a tradition by now.

I really enjoyed reading this post. Its interesting to know what makes a certain dish close to a person's heart.

Ranjani said...

These look really good:)
I'm going to try this recipe this weekend, I have a bag of tiny red potatoes and this would be great!

I've added you to my blog list!

Cham said...

40 years, same menu! Wow , no wonder the potato sticks for such a long time. They are lovely..

Srivalli said...

wow..those potatoes look lovely!...yes moms are great! post to talk abt them is not enough!

Medhaa said...

lovely post. Love the potatoes so simple but yet so yummy

Sig said...

That was a touching read Arudathi... three cheers to your mom... and hope one day your daughter will write such a tribute to you as well... :)

notyet100 said...

ur post reminded me of my mom,..nice one

Rachel said...

A very lovely read! How very true about mom's!

zlamushka said...

Cute potatoes. Look spicy, I like that :-)

Uma said...

nice post and the potatoes look diving. Yummy!

Divya Vikram said...

40 years!! it looks like an ultimate comfort food

Pravs said...

cute little potatoes. Looks yum !

ANJALI J. said...

lovely picture Arundhati,nice entry and an interesting recipe.

Siri said...

Lovely read Arundhati and I must say the potatoes look yummmm!!! great entry.


sra said...

Nice post Arundathi, except for daal, I rarely make stuff I grew up with for various reasons - just made one of those the other day, have been meaning to post it but have been feeling lazy!

Arundathi said...

@ Roma - Yes, it's definitely become a tradition. I guess comfort food is so defined as a place where you felt safe and happy! :)

@ Ranjani - let me know how it turned out. Thanks for adding me!

@ Cham - Thanks!

@ Valli - You are so right - I could've gone on for a while, but I'm sure everyone feels the same for their moms!

@ Medhaa - Thanks!

@ Sig - Thanks so much! I hope so too!

@ notyet - Thanks!

@ Rachel - Thanks! :)

@ Zlamushka - Thanks - I guess you can make it as spicy as you'd like. I love them fiery hot!

@ Uma, Divya, Pravs, Anjali, Siri - Thanks so much guys!!

@ Sra - I look forward to your post!!

nandita said...

always love what you have to write! 40 years same menu that too so loved is amazing...and your spicy potatoes made my mouth water :)

babe in the kitchen said...

thanks for dropping by my blog :) i think i'm gonna try your spicy potatoes. they look very yummy. hopefully i can get some curry leaves at the market :D

babe in the kitchen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bhagyashri said...

Lovely post..such a simple sounding recipe but I am sure its delicious. It looks very spicy, just the way I like it :) Will try this very soon.

Arundathi said...

@ Nandita - Thank you! :)

@ Babe - you could easily leave out the curry leaves...its not a must for the recipe. And I really liked browsing through your blog...lovely.

@ Bhagyashri - thanks! Let me know how it turns out!

Madhuram said...

Hi Arundathi,

What a tradition? Now I also want to start something like this.

The potatoes look very good, no wonder it has been cooked for such a long time.

You have a surprise in my blog.

vegeyum said...

These look so very fabulous!

Arundathi said...

@ Madhuram - So excited when I saw your blog! Thanks!!!

@ Vegeyum - Thanks!

bee said...

a question. why do you need to peel the potatoes? is it because the skins are tough? we don't peel them.

Arundathi said...

Bee, you definitely don't have to peel the potatoes (in fact, its terribly painful to have to sit and peel each small potato). I like them with the skins on, but I find most people like them without (esp in my family).

Sandeepa said...

Wow same Sunday meny for 40 years ....that is something. I like the spicy potatoes though

Arundathi said...

thanks sandeepa :)

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