I was often called Kamla Bobo’s Chadi (walking stick to my paternal grandmother Kamla Bhatnagar). My grandma ran the house. My parents, siblings and I lived with her in New Delhi. This dish was one of the couple of potato dishes that she loved. This was mostly made in the evenings. She enjoyed it with Chapatis, pooris and parathas. Equally.
On those days when we were observing festivals, this was the recipe that was followed to the tee. On rare occasions, the recipe could be made a tad bolder with the addition of some Garam Masala in the end. Sometimes some cumin seed powder, amchoor and ground mustard seeds were added as well. Those Rase Ke Aloo’s would be had with Kachoris, a special puffy bread that was stuffed with ground hulled and spiced black beans.
All our extended clan of relatives from my fathers side made these potatoes too. Each home had a different amount of tomatoes that were added into the dish. Some omitted them altogether and used amchoor (mango powder) for the souring of the potatoes. Tomatoes were an expensive ingredient in the India that I came of age in. My grandmother didn’t save money on food. She might have been thrifty otherwise, but at the table, she indulged her family’s, guests’ and her appetite most happily. And so tomatoes were used without thought, and they are what give these potatoes their oomph.
Rase Ke Aloo (serves 6)
16-20 medium sized potatoes, peeled, boiled and cooled
8 medium sized tomatoes, finely diced
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (ghee if making for a puja)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seed powder
1 tablespoons Deghi mirch
2 teaspoons turmeric
Pinch of heeng
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish if available
1) In a bowl place the ground spices.
2) In a med-large stock pot/pressure cooker add the vegetable oil and cumin. Cook the cumin seeds till they are golden brown, about a minute or two.
3) Add the ground spices into the oil and cook for a minute or minute and a half.
4) Add the tomatoes into the spiced oil.
5) Add salt into the pan. Stir the tomatoes, cover the pan, simmer on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
6) Break the potatoes with your hands into small to medium pieces. Unevenly broken. Set aside.
7) Uncover the pan, the tomatoes juices should be thick and jammy and oil separated.
8) Add water that will immerse the potatoes fully and then some.
9) Add the potatoes into the pot.
10) Stir the contents of the pot.
11) Bring the potatoes and tomato broth to a boil and turn off the gas. Let the potatoes rest for 15-20 minutes. Heat and serve.
12) Taste for salt. Add coriander if using for garnish. Serve.