Potato Curry with Yogurt

If you crave making a curry dish, and don’t have time to stop by an Asian Grocery store, you can go frustrate the good people of Festival Foods, like I did.

First, the manager, who saw that turmeric and garam masala were not available, printed the ingredients for these spices for me, only to find that those ingredients weren’t available either. I skipped them. Then, in the check-out, I am sure I threw the teenage cashier over the edge, who must be still on the run from vegetables since he was two.

“Ma’am, what are these?”

“Well, I know that one is a leek, and those others….let me check my grocery list…”

(Woman behind us, literally tapping her foot): “Root ginger, shallots, and green chillies.”

As I began preparing vegetables, I thought of my boyfriend’s warning, “Always cook a recipe without substituting ingredients the first time you cook it!” I have never done this, I thought, kind of snickering and tearing up from the onions. I would like to say I am too pro to not substitute things, but really I’m just a very amateur cook. Especially since this dish took me about an hour and a half to make!

Let me know, can you make it faster?

Potato Curry with Yogurt

6 garlic cloves, chopped (*I used minced onion from a jar)

1 oz fresh root ginger peeled and chopped (if you try to shred it on a cheese grate, it takes forever, despite the delicious scent)

2 Tbsp ghee (??) OR 1 TBSP oil and 1 Tbsp butter

6 shallots halved lengthways and sliced along the grain

2 green chillies, seeded and finely slices (good luck finding these in the fall)

A handful of fresh or dried curry leaves (non-existent at Festival in the fall; I bought a Green curry paste instead)

1 ¼ lb. waxy potatoes, cut into bitesize pieces (I so didn’t know what waxy meant, so I did baby gold potatoes…)

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered (“fuss-free” recipes? I think not)

1 cup Greek yogurt (I bought the individual cup, because I only like Greek yogurt in recipes)

Fresh coriander/cilantro and mint leaves, finely chopped, to garnish (I don’t believe in garnishes, cooking for one person)

1 lemon, quartered to serve

Other ingredients “From the storecupboard”

2 tsp sugar

1-2 tsp ground turmeric (skipped)

1 Tbsp garam masala (skipped)

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1 tsp red chilli powder, to garnish (skipped? Forgot?…I have short-term memory)

To make:

  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the garlic and ginger to a coarse paste.
  2. Heat the ghee in a heavy pan, add the shallots and chillies and cook until fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger paste with the sugar, and stir until the mixture begins to colour.
  3. Stir in the curry leaves, cinnamon sticks, turmeric, and garam masala, and toss in the potatoes, making sure they are coated in the spice mixture
  4. Pour in just enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just cooked, they should still have a bite to them.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes and heat them through. Fold in the yogurt, then sprinkle with the chilli powder, coriander and mint. Serve immediately with lemon to squeeze over it and flatbread for scooping it up. (What!? Flatbread wasn’t in the ingredients, so I didn’t buy it).

The recipe serves four and takes me a long time to make. Long. Time.

This recipe is from a pretty, blue and maroon cookbook I picked up from Borders titled “400 Best-Ever Budget Recipes: How to create fuss-free and delicious dishes for all the family, with fabulous recipes shown step by step in more than 1800 beautiful photographs.”

I should’ve known it was a hoax just by all the adjectives in the long subtitle. The recipes look delicious but have too many teaspoons of specialty ingredients to be low budget!

If I made this dish again, I would add chicken, as I am not a vegetarian. Also, it needs something with more color, besides garnishes—which are lame, and I might double the recipe because the leftovers were awesome! (In my opinion, not my mom’s.) Despite the trouble, this is the best curry dish that I’ve made…which makes sense, considering the other curry dish I just sprinkled “curry” dry-powder spice on the chicken. It was very salty.

Taste: 3 stars

Ease of cooking: 2 stars

Leftovers: 4 stars

Appearance: 3 stars

Highs: smells good when cooking, took care of my curry craving, made great leftovers!

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