Potatoes are very important in my kitchen…well, probably in most kitchens, the world over. And why wouldn’t they be. These plain looking things are probably one of the most versatile of ingredients…skin- on or peeled, whole or cut up (diced, sliced, chopped etc.), with seasonings or without. And what can one say about all those varieties of dishes that can be cooked with the humble potato….fried, chipped, boiled, mashed, baked, roasted, curried…the list is endless. Unlike many foods, potatoes can also be easily cooked in a microwave oven and still retain nearly all of their nutritional value, provided that they are covered in ventilated plastic wrap to prevent moisture from escaping.(wiki)
Nutritionally, potatoes are known for their carbohydrate content in the form of starch.
The best thing about potatoes is their ability to absorb the flavours of the dish that it is being added to. As good as they are on their own,they also make themselves comfortable with all the other ingredients in the simplest or the spiciest of dishes. The bland potato becomes all jazzy when dressed up with various ingredients.
Back home, we call a person ‘aloo’, meaning’ potato’, if he or she is very adaptable and gets along with everyone!! I wonder if there is anyone who does not like potatoes…I bet, even the fussiest of eaters (especially kids) would not think of making a fuss when it comes to eating potatoes.
In Assamese cuisine, a bit of potato is added to almost every dish….vegetable, fish, eggs, and even chicken!!! We also have them on their own by frying(aloo bhaji) or mashing (aloo pitika) or roasting them over naked flame (aloo poora) .
Since we’re on a potato trail, my recipe for the day is one of potatoes cut into wedges, seasoned and rubbed in spices and baked. Again, since, this month, cumin is the spice we’ve (well, I definitely have ) been thinking about, this was the spice that I chose to dress up our good old potato. The flavours of freshly ground cumin was a perfect garment to ready the wedges for the show…which, if I may say so myself, was an all round hit. The kids (bless them!) patiently followed me around for quite a while as I set about capturing the wedges’ moment of glory for posterity…and no sooner had I finished that they pounced( literally) on them…and yes, asked for more…hubby was delighted as well…and as for your’s truly, well what can I say…I did have my ‘more than I should, and then feel guilty’ share.
5-6 large new potatoes, cut into wedges with the skin on and washed
2 tsp of cumin seeds
a pinch of turmeric powder
3-4 tblsp of olive oil
salt to taste
- Parboil the potatoes in water with 1 tsp of salt. Drain and keep aside.
- Pre-heat the oven at 220 deg cel.
- Heat a pan and add the cumin seeds. Stir continuously over medium heat till they begin to leave their smoky flavour and slightly change their colour (take care not to burn them).
- Remove the roasted cumin from heat. Keep aside a tsp of the seeds and grind the rest.
- Place the potatoes on a baking tray.
- Add the whole and ground cumin, turmeric, olive oil and season with salt. Toss the potatoes with all these.
- Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour or till they are cooked through and acquire a nice brown hue.
- Serve hot.
They were really gorgeous…firm and crisp exterior with softer insides…we loved every bit. Isn’t it amazing how the simplest of dishes can give one so much gratification.
And, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m also sending the recipe to myself for my event…