Sunday, September 06, 2009

Potatoes and Peas Vindaloo

I don't think Julie Sahni's Moghul Microwave gets the accolades it is due. It introduced me to the joys of South Asian eatin' years ago, when I was still a young kitchen experimenter - by letting me know that the microwave was just another kitchen appliance, not merely something for heating frozen dinners. One of the first recipes I ever made out of this wonderful cookbook was Sahni's potatoes and peas vindaloo.

First, you need to make one recipe of vindaloo sauce, which (as she points out) is great on hot dogs. After grinding the spices, you nuke onions, garlic and ginger in olive or mustard oil the microwave, then add the ground spices and finally a mixture of water, tamarind paste, kosher salt and tomato purée. I prefer the tubed tomato paste, which gives a much, much stronger tomato flavor. I tried puréeing fresh tomatoes, bought from a farm no less, and the flavor just wasn't that strong for me. So this is one of the few times I would actually recommend using something from a tube instead of something fresh.

This vindaloo sauce can survive for a year in the freezer. Just put it in ice cube trays, then microwave or pan-heat it up if you want to use it. I do this with pesto as well.

Once you have this done, nuke some small potatoes (yes, these I got at a farmer's market, and they do in fact taste better than the ones in the store), with a little salt, a little water and a little olive oil. Next, dump some peas and the vindaloo sauce in with the potatoes, nuke it some more and you are done.

It goes great with basmati rice, which I cooked in the breadmaker with turmeric, butter and craisins mixed in. To flesh out the meal, I stir-fried some broccoli and carrots in more butter and turmeric. I'm hoping to use both the butter and the turmeric more often. I finished it off with some garlic naan and some meat samosas I got at the Kabab Stop in Mount Washington. Good place, but make sure you bring cash if you don't plan to spend more than $10.