I love the potato. Such a versatile tuber. It's the Tom Hanks of all tubers.
I could've said Johnny Depp, but the humble potato is a nice guy, who looks like a nice guy, not a nice guy who looks like an uber cool rockstar.
This dish reminds me of my short, yet very eventful stint in Goa, where I lived life vicariously as an 18 year old student architect, complete with a semi-furnished apartment of roommate-classmates, and just enough money to cover living expenses. This is obviously because all our parents knew that alcohol in Goa was inexpensive (af) and had they given us any more money than we actually needed, we'd be throwing it at supermarkets selling beer. (Yes, my friends, supermarkets sell beer. The local vegetable guy sells beer. Beer flows like water. So does Fenny. But that's a story for another day.)
And so, under shoe-string budgets, we needed to find ways to cut corners, without compromising our stomachs. Thus, the aloo-jeera in our lives, was born! Using the potato's ultra super powers of being a good source of carbohydrates, the humble potato, had dedicated it's life to fighting hunger and the forces of evilll!!!
We certainly thought so at the time.
1 pressure cooker
1 chopping board
1 frying pan/ kadai
1 steel spoon/spatula for frying (the flat one your mum chased you around the house with when you were little)
2 - 3 medium potatoes
3 cups tap water
1 red onion
2 - 3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 tsp cumin (jeera)
1/2 tsp ajwain (carroway seeds - the secret ingredient, CHEMICAL X)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp coriander leaves and stalks, chopped roughly
1. Wash the potatoes well until all the mud comes off of the skin. Put it into the pressure cooker and add a pinch of salt and the water. Cover the cooker, place your weight on and cook it on high flame for 4 whistles. Once done, take your potatoes out, peel them, chop them roughly into bite sized chunks and set aside for them to cool.
2. While your potatoes cook, finely slice the onions, roughly chop the garlic, and roughly chop the coriander.
3. Once your potatoes are cooked, heat your kadai or frying pan with the oil on medium heat.
4. Add the cumin, and the ajwain when the oil gets hot. Once the seeds stop popping, lower the heat and add the garlic and onions. Fry the onions until they turn translucent.
5. Add the turmeric and chilli powder at this stage and fry well until the raw smell of the turmeric goes away.
6. Add the potatoes and fry on high heat for a few minutes until the onion mixture coats and covers the potatoes. Add salt and fry for a few more minutes until the onions begin to caramelise.
7. Add your chopped coriander to the potatoes and mix well. Your aloo-jeera is done!
If your onions absorb all the oil by the time you need to add your potatoes, gently swirl in some oil on to the sides. The heat from the sides of your frying pan will heat the oil as it settles down to the bottom of the pan. You can then add your potatoes and fry well.
Don't forget the salt when you cook the potatoes!