Potatoes have been around for a while now. Their remains were found in the ancient ruins of Peru and Chile that date back to 500 B.C. And for good reason.
Potato is mother nature's perfect comfort food. It adds a degree of comfort and health to every meal. It is high in potassium and magnesium, a combination that keeps the blood pressure tamed. Unless it is loaded down with fats like butter, sour cream, melted cheese and bacon bits, it is a low calorie food too. In fact much of the bad rap it gets is actually due to the companions that it is served with, or the way that it is cooked in high calories and fat.
And this will surprise you but the antioxidant count (The ORAC value) for potatoes is fairly high. Plus not many foods are as versatile as the much maligned potato.
What Makes Potato Great?
Can be served any time of the day - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Can be fixed any which way you want – stand alone, added with any veggies (even meat); healthy low cal recipe or even sinful French fries.
Can be oven baked, micro baked, roasted, boiled, steamed, even fried, it’s a treat that makes the meal complete.
Try these potato dishes from across the country to spice up your menus.
Orrisa Sada Aloo Chorchori
These mild tasting potatoes in a thin gravy are a perfect comfort food and pair well with every thing from rice to dosas to rotis.
Heat mustard oil in a pan
Add a pinch of kalonji (black cumin seeds) and torn dried red chillies
Add sliced potato and stir on high heat for a minute or two
Add salt, black pepper and water, just enough to cover the potatoes, and cover and cook till they get tender
Keep adding water if need be
Amritsar Aloo Ki Launji
This sweet, sour aloo dish is brilliant as an accompaniment to any meal, and is quite unlike any other potato dish you would have had.
Heat oil in a pan
Add asafoetida, and fenugreek and fennel seeds powder (pound coarsely with a mortal and pestle)
Add boiled, coarsely mashed boiled potatoes
Masalas go in next - turmeric, red chilli and coriander powders
Now add tamarind paste, and sugar, salt to taste and finally some water
Cover and cook on low heat for a few minutes
Maharashtra Batata Bhaji
In this popular Maharashtrian aloo dish Batata means potato and bhaji means sabzi. It is lightly spiced and pairs perfectly with pav and puris.
Heat oil in a pan
Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, and curry leaves and let them crackle for a few seconds
Add sliced onion, green chillies, ginger and garlic, and fry until onion turns slightly brown
Add cashew nuts or peanuts or both, and turmeric powder and fry for a few seconds
Now add boiled, chopped potatoes, salt and sugar to taste, and cook for 3-4 minutes
Finally just sprinkle some coriander leaves and squeeze some lemon on top
Assamese Aloo Pitika
Its simple, super quick and is absolutely delicious.
Mash well boiled potato
Add salt and chilli to taste
Add sliced onion and 1 tsp mustard oil
Mix it all well, preferably with hand
Add coriander leaves as a garnish
Kerala Pepper Potato Curry
This is a rich dish, is very comforting and pairs well with idiyappam, appam or naan.
Heat coconut oil in a pan
Add finely chopped onion, green chillies and salt to taste and fry till lightly translucent
Add cubed potatoes and sauté 2 minutes
Add chilli, coriander and turmeric powders, water.
Lower the flame and cover and cook till potatoes turn soft and water reduces
Then add coconut milk and fennel powder and cook till the curry turn thick
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)