Monday, February 28, 2011

Indian-Style Potatoes

This highly scented dish is very versatile - serve it as a side dish the next time you have chickpea curry or lentil dal for dinner (or any other Indian-themed entree) or make it the centerpiece of the meal, and add Indian flatbread and a simple side salad.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed*
  • 4 cups (1/4-inch) strips peeled baking potato (about 2 small or 1 large)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional for garnish)
1. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the mustard seeds, salt, crushed red pepper, turmeric, dry mustard, and garlic; saute for 1 minute (the mustard seeds should pop about in the pan).  Add the green beans and potato; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the water and lemon juice; cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes - the potato should be tender by the end.

2. Garnish with the lemon rind, if desired, for a pretty presentation.

*I just learned the proper way to trim green beans, after years of doing so incorrectly.  You only want to trim the tough end, by lining the green beans up on a cutting board and chopping with a knife.  Leave the other end - with the pretty tapered tip - intact.

A note when buying Indian flatbread: commercially available naan is almost sure to have milk or butter in it.  But chapatis are a great safe bet for vegans - they will almost always consist of just three ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, and oil. 

Nutrition Info:
3 servings (about 2 cups), Calories 246 

Tasting Notes:
Although the spice mix was delicious, there were a few reasons I didn't love this dish.  First, the green beans were wonderfully crisp, and the potatoes were wonderfully tender... but the two were an odd contrast to each other.  I feel that the green beans need to be cooked separately first, so they are tender like the potatoes.  I also didn't love the overall combination of the two vegetables - until I wrapped them up in a chapati.  With the bread acting as a binder, the flavor cohered better.  You might consider chopping both the green beans and potatoes into smaller pieces, and either rolling up in flatbread, or serving directly over rice.   


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