I’m not sure many people can say this, but I owe my sanity to aloo mutter…or at least my sanity in India anyway.
Travel has always been a huge part of our lives. From Tokyo to Kathmandu, down to Ushuaia and all the way back up to Kirkenes, we are blessed to have trampled the globe together. For me our travels have always been synonymous with seeking out new food experiences. For my flavourphobic partner, however, the mere notion of culinary-tourism is unpalatable. In spite of being the most well travelled person I’ve ever met, my partner holds scant regard for sampling foreign flavours in foreign climes. This is, after all, a man who ate nowt but Big Macs in Beijing, Whoopers in Bergen, doner kebabs in Florence…and then there was India.
Ah, dear Mother India!
A land defined by fierce fragrances, earthy hygiene and spicy flavours; India is a culinary destination that should strike fear in the hearts of even the bravest of world travelers, let alone those of limited culinary bravado i.e. ‘you know who’…or so you would think. Little did I know that, culinarily speaking, the sub-continent would prove to be one place in the world the Flavourphobe would have no problem finding something to eat – all thanks to aloo mutter! Who knew a man could almost exclusively live on peas and potatoes for a month, but that he did. With the exception of the occasional aloo gobi, he had it in the South, he had it in the North, he even had it somewhere in the middle and he loved it every single time…but not as much as I did! No one was happier than I when we saw aloo mutter on the evening’s menu; not because I wanted to eat it myself, but rather because it meant we could actually enjoy a meal together whilst on holiday! For the first time on our travels I had been spared our usual dinner-time routine of depositing him at the nearest KFC whilst I sampled the local delights on my lonesome. At last, we could eat at the same restaurant every day. What travel bliss! Indeed what a privilege!
So did aloo mutter prove to be that watershed moment when he would finally open his taste buds to the favours of the world? Hah, don’t make me laugh. With the exception of Japanese Curry, his culinary ‘awakening’ was as short-lived as our time in India. Soon enough we were back to traveling together, but eating apart. Alas, the dream couldn’t last forever and the aloo mutter bubble had to burst at some stage. We will, however, always have dear Mother India and the days she granted us the simple pleasure of enjoying a meal, together.
Oh…did I forget to mention that aloo mutter is also incredibly delicious and cheap to make? Don’t just take my partner’s word for it, it really is possibly the best way to jazz up a couple of potatoes and those long-forgotten peas at the back of the freezer! Aloo mutter is definitely a worthy addition to any Indian meal.
Aloo Mutter (Pea & Potato Curry): Serves 4 as part of an Indian Meal
- 2 tbsp. Ghee (omit if you want a vegan version and double the vegetable oil instead)
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
- 5 cm cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup of green peas
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- Firstly, skin the tomatoes and then puree
- In a small bowl, combine the garam marsala, chilli powder, turmeric and ground coriander
- Heat the ghee & oil in a kadhai or saucepan over a medium heat
- Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they start to turn golden – be careful not to burn them.
- Add the ginger, garlic, cloves, bay leaves & cinnamon stick, continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the ground spices and cook for 30 seconds
- Pour in the pureed tomatoes and add the salt
- Cook until the tomato reduces and the oil begins to separate – it may take up to 10 minutes for this to happen. Stir regularly as the tomatoes may catch and burn at the bottom of the saucepan
- Add the cubed potatoes and stir to combine with the tomato.
- Pour in water and bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes
- Add the peas, cover the pan again and simmer for another 10 minutes (you may want to add an extra splash of water, but if you don’t need to then don’t)
- Check that the potatoes have cooked through completely
- Add the chopped coriander leaves and stir through before serving