Tender baby potatoes coated in a spice roasted tomato-onion masala.
“Po-Tay-Toes, boil them, mash them, put them in a stew!” the great Samwise Gamgee exclaimed when he tried to explain what taters are to the unaware Gollum. I myself am very acquainted with these rich starchy tubers. They were (and still are!) the assumed side for any rice dish like rasam-rice or sambar-rice to create a carb-y matrimony.
In this recipe, I boil the potatoes in a salt water bath, allowing the salt to diffuse and season the potatoes within. The real magic comes from the roasted tomato-onion masala that coats the potatoes. The masala starts off a vibrant perky red from the Kashmiri chili powder and tomatoes but they soon roast and deepen in color creating a mahogany spiced varnish on top of the baby potatoes. A last squeeze of lemon juice and some fresh sprigs of cilantro brighten the dish!
Salting the water is important
I know this may seem like an absurd amount of salt that you are putting in the water, but doing so helps diffuse some of the seasoning into your potatoes. The rest of the salt is thrown out with the water!
Check your potatoes to ensure that they are boiled
Uncooked potato on the left vs. cooked potato on the right. You can see how the center of the uncooked potato is still a translucent brown whereas the cooked potato is creamy and yellowish-white throughout.
Really cook out your masala
You want to slightly cook out the water added in the recipe until it creates a thicker masala streak in your pan. The reason you simmer the water with the spices and tomatoes is to cook out the raw taste of the spices and tomatoes.
Potatoes at the beginning of the roasting process
This picture shows the potatoes at the beginning of the roasting process. You will notice how they are still a bright red color. To really develop flavor, allow the masala to roast at least for 10 minutes until the masala turns from a bright red to a deeper mahogany reddish-brown hue.
Potatoes after the roasting process
This is how dark you want to get the masala that encrusts the potatoes. As the masala roasts, add 1-2 Tbs of oil to release some of the masala that gets stuck to the bottom of your pan and prevent it from burning. All of that masala is flavor!Print