Sunday, 24 January 2016

Potato Gregg's Last Stand: Tandoori style potato curry

All good things come to an end and so do potatoes bearing vague resemblance to celebrity greengrocers, so it's time to make him useful. Well, I couldn't let him just putrefy into a mouldy, slimy mess, could I? It would do him a disservice to make something boring with him so I decided to make this great curry. It's what he would have wanted.

 Alas, poor Potato Gregg.
I knew him, Horatio

Really, the potato is taken for granted, especially in the UK. Chips (and I did mention the British obsession with the fucking chip previously), mash and the horrendously bland, plain boiled old potatoes were the accompaniment to much of the nutrition in my formative years. I mean chips are OK and mash is great if made right (it rarely was back then), but the plain boiled potatoes were just so fucking bland. Serving them up like that is just such a waste of a really versatile vegetable. Let me count the ways. There are crisps which come close to the very zenith of the art of potato cookery, but nobody I know makes their own crisps. You can have them baked, sauteed, roasted, or get exotic and go for something like hasselback, duchess, dauphinoise and, let's face it, you know if it's got a French name it's going to have a good 50% extra on the price in a lot of restaurants. Alternatively, incorporate your spuds in a stew or casserole for them to braise and they not only absorb the flavour of what they're cooking in, but actually enhance it.

There is a lot of bad press about potatoes as being full of carbohydrate and therefore amongst certain healthy/faddy diet circles (yes, adherents to the Paleolithic diet, I'm looking at you as I mentioned previously, you gullible twats) they rank up there with the jism of Satan himself as a food to avoid. However, it's a little known fact that potatoes, before the global transport network and advances in cultivation made pretty much every vegetable available all year round, were one of the major sources of vitamin C in gloomy Northern Europe in the winter months. Indeed, there is actually more vitamin C in a packet of salt and vinegar crisps than in a fresh apple. Well, I say there is, but I've not checked that fact so it might be bollocks.

Thing is, potatoes are just so fucking versatile and one of the best ways to use them is in curries where they can be a main ingredient in their own right.

½ tsp ground tumeric
½ tsp onion seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp tandoori spice
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
pinch chilli flakes
1 small onion, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
400g peeled potatoes in 2cm cubes
300ml water
100g fresh tomatoes, peeled
2 tbsp vegetable oil 

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and fry the spices for a minute. Throw in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is transparent, stirring frequently.

Add the potatoes and keep stirring for 10 minutes to par-cook them and give them a nice coating of spice mix. Add the tomatoes, stir and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the water.

Bring the pan to the boil, cover and leave to cook for twenty to thirty minutes, when the potato should be tender.

This is plenty for three or four people as an accompaniment to another curry, or is substantial enough to be served on its own with rice and/or bread. Like most curries, any leftovers taste better as lunch the next day

Served up with a chicken curry, pilau rice and naan bread

So, goodbye then, Potato Gregg. There may be other guest appearances in the future.

This is yet another vegetarian/vegan dish. It's great on its own but it makes a great part of a thali along with some of my other vegie curries and accompaniments like baingan tamatar and butternut squash curry.

I made this with old potatoes in this instance, but making it with new potatoes also works really well.

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