Roast potatoes just got bold, brassy and bodacious in the fashion of Bollywood films. Dressed up in a rich spice mix, these roast potatoes can hold their own unlike plain salted roast potatoes. The recipe, adapted from Pushpesh Pant’s India Cookbook,is a fried potato dish from the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh known for its fiery cuisine. Cooking for a party, I figured it was much easier and less labour-intensive to roast the potatoes instead of frying them, I also tweaked the quantities of the spices a teeny-weeny bit because the quantities in the original recipe would produce a much milder flavour than I wanted (you can add or reduce the red chillies to your taste).
I would suggest that you fresh roast and grind the spices to retain their aroma which tends to fade over a period of time. And of course, the mix can be used with any combination of roast vegetables and even on grilled chicken. The final tempering has fresh curry leaves but if you can’t find fresh, dried ones work just fine. Also leave out the black gram lentils in the tempering if you cannot lay your hands on them but most Indian stores have them.
Spice-Spiked Indian Roast Potatoes
- 350 g baby potatoes
- 2 tbsp sunflower or any other flavourless oil +1 tbsp for tempering
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp skinless black gram lentils they are white without skin
- 15 curry leaves
For the spice mix
- 11/2 tbsps coriander seeds
- 11/2 tsps cumin seeds
- 15 black peppercorns
- 6 dried red chillies
- 4 green cardamoms
- 4-5 cloves
- 1.5 inch long cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Steam or parboil the potatoes till they are about half done. Drain well and peel.
- While the potatoes boil, make the spice mix or masala. Heat a pan or griddle on low heat and roast the spices (except the turmeric powder) individually for a few minutes (if you roast them together, some, like the dried chillies may roast quicker and burn), cool and dry grind with the turmeric to a coarse spice powder.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Arrange the potatoes on a baking tray, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Shake tray to coat all the potatoes and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Then crank up the heat to 200 degrees C and move the tray to the top rack under the broiler, tossing the potatoes every now and then to ensure a crisp, even browning.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle generously with the spice mix to coat evenly. Heat one tablespoon oil in a small pan till very hot, toss in the mustard, cumin and black lentils so that they splutter, turn off the heat and add the curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the potatoes and check the seasoning. Return to the oven for 5 minutes at 180 degrees C, to heat it through. Serve with dal and rice or chapatis.