Curry leaves are not a very common herb in the Assamese kitchen. Although it is found in abundance- many people have a plant in their gardens- it is not used on a regular basis.
The most common dish I remember eating with this ingredient is a fish dish made with the smaller variety of fish like ‘puthi’ (olive barb)… It is usually made in small quantities, and is supposed to have medicinal properties, and I remember my ma literally coaxing us to finish it off. The whole kitchen filled with the aroma emanating from the leaves as they were ground…
However, the dish that I’m going to discuss is a very easy breezy one, which we have quite often and where the good old curry leaf is responsible for all the flavour. It is a simple potato curry, but had with rotis or puris, tastes great…the kids love it and their mom and dad love it, in fact, the mom loved it even when she was a kid, so , she would like to share the recipe…nothing out of the world, so don’t expect to be blown away…it’s for one of those days when you don’t feel like slaving too much in front of the kitchen fire, but still crave for a nice , simple but flavourful dish. It goes best with rotis or puris.
So here goes…
4-5 medium sized potatoes, cut into quarters and washed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tomato sliced
2-3 pods of garlic, finely chopped
3 tsp chopped curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 and 1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
2 tblsp of oil
1 whole bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 whole red chilli
Boil the potatoes in as much water as needed to just cover them up. Cool and peel them and then cut them into smaller pieces. Mash one or two pieces. This will help in thickening the gravy.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the ingredients for tempering. Once the seeds splutter, add the onions and garlic and fry for a minute over medium heat.
Add the tomatoes, turmeric and cumin powders and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
Add the potatoes, season with salt and stir fry for a minute.
Add a glass of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the curry leaves and simmer till it begins to leave it’s aroma. And it really does leave it’s aroma. This takes hardly a minute. Once done, remove from heat and serve hot
with rotis (like us) or puris. Add some fresh salad for that little extra zing.
There, a very simple but pleasing meal…the curry leaves add that oomph to an otherwise simple and light dish!!