Go to any Punjabi home on any day, and chances are you’ll be served this simple dish. But you’ll be surprised how tricky it is to cook a dish as simple as potatoes and peas.
It’s a balancing act of cooking long enough so the seasonings can penetrate into the diced potatoes, but also not too long that the potatoes begin to break apart. One trick in getting the flavour to penetrate is to allow the potatoes to cool for about an hour after cooking so that they absorb the flavour of the gravy.
Try to get potatoes that can withstand long cooking such as Yukon Gold or Holland Potatoes. Potatoes that become fluffy when cooked, such as Russet, will simply disintegrate into the gravy.
Choosing your peas is also important. We happened to get a packet of peas that are frozen after the sugars have matured into firm starch, so it needed to be cooked longer to soften. If your peas are young and tender they should only be cooked for about 5 minutes, so you only need to add the peas after the potatoes have softened.
Cilantro is another major flavour contributor, not just a garnish. Stir it in while the pan is still hot and the herb will wilt, infusing its heady aroma all over the dish. Chop in an additional sprig just before serving to freshen up the dish.
Hope you enjoy this vegetarian delight.
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 4 red onions, sliced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 kg potatoes, diced
- 500 g frozen peas
- 1 red chilli, sliced
- 1 green chilli, sliced
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 tsp mango powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- salt to taste
- 2 sprigs cilantro, chopped
- Heat cooking oil in wok, add curry leaves to fry until crispy. Add cumin, cinnamon and mustard seeds to temper in hot oil.
- Add onions and ginger, sauté until wilted.
- Add potatoes, peas, chillies, chilli powder, turmeric powder and water to simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes and peas have softened.
- When cooked, add mango powder, garam masala, chaat masala and salt to taste. Stir in chopped cilantro and allow the flavour to meld in.
- Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and serve with chapati.