The first thing the son noticed was the book rack. This is something I am very very proud off, and am very possessive about the books I own. Not that they are very costly or that I am arrogant, it is just that each and book has a smell I am familiar with, each page carries a story and because some of my books have helped me find good friends. The son was most fascinated by my collection of cook books, and called his wife at once to examine the lot! After they left, I cleaned the rack lovingly fingering each cook book! It was then that I discovered, to my own amazement that I had over 40 Cook Books!! I am rather ashamed to admit that I haven’t tried even a single dish from a few:( It was then that I decided that I would honor the writers and cook a dish from every book, hopefully by the end of this year!
In doing so, I find that I keep repeating dishes either from Neeta Mehta’s books, or from one of the baking books from Classic Essential Breads, Cakes, and more recently The Bread Book by Sara Lewis. Sometime back I found a thin green book that had somehow gone unnoticed – The Samsung Book of Indian Microwave Cooking by Tarla Dalal which came along with the Microwave. I was still choosing a dish to cook from this book when P bought a big packet of baby potatoes. I am a little lazy about scraping, grating and the like and try to avoid any food that may require such arduous tasks! P says I am a snobbish chef who likes to have assistants doing my menial jobs – who else but P! I woke up one morning, and found cleaned, scraped baby potatoes dunked in cold water. P obviously expected me to prepare dum aloos of which he is a huge fan, that too on a weekday. Any other day I would have lost my temper at the thought, but this time I could almost picture the delicious tandoori aloo I had seen in the book, and rolled up my sleeves so to say, to get going!
I made mine using Tarla Dalal’s recipe as a guide, and not a Bible! The recipe uses baby potatoes with jackets, but I prefer the scraped version as it is more hygienic than the former! I tried a low fat version using sofit’s tofu instead of cream, and only a teaspoon of oil for the entire quantity! This one is a winner all the way, and is a wonderful appetizer for parties, especially if you have calorie conscious guests!
2 cups baby potatoes
A teaspoon of oil
1/4 tsp. – Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp. – dried kasuri methi
1/4 tsp. – peanut butter smooth (I had only the chunky version in my pantry but the smooth one would be great)
5 to 6 small tofu cubes (Sofit is good for this)
1/2 tsp. – grated garlic
1 inch – ginger grated
About 2 tsps. – dhana jeera powder
A pinch of amchoor or chaat masala
Chilly powder as per taste
Thin rounds of onion sliced, separated into rings. It looks tempting if you grate some beet, and mix the rings in it so that onions turn pink.
1. Wash, scrape and clean the potatoes.
2. Pierce them with a fork and place them all around the circumference of the microwave turntable with a small bowl of water in the centre. This prevents them from shrivelling.
3. Microwave on high for about 6 to 8 minutes till the potatoes get just done.
4. Heat the oil in a microwave safe bowl, add the prepared ground paste and salt (Please adjust spices to suit your taste as these things are a matter of personal choice rather than measurements). Micro high for a minute. Mix again.
5. Add the potatoes, and toss well. Micro high for 2 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven. Pierce with skewers or just place the potatoes on a hot grill. Sprinkle some chilly powder and grill for about 5 to 10 minutes. You may drizzle with oil before grilling so that it doesn’t look as dry as mine. But I really prefer the one with lesser oil. It makes a great evening snack, a quick cocktail snack and if you are willing, why not serve it as a side dish with the main course!
This month Meeta – The lady behind ‘The Monthly Mingle’ passes the baton over to Sig. Sig is all set to end the summer grilling at her place. The second scorching October heat is only round the corner in Mumbai, so we still have endless opportunities to grill food and get grilled ourselves! I am sending my spicy aloos and hope you enjoy it as much as we did! (Agreed mine aren’t all that spicy!!)
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