The most relaxed time of the day for me is the night time when everyone is asleep and I know that there is nothing else left to be done and the day has passed just as it should. I then lie down waiting to get drowsy while I surf on my handphone. Read news, search for something on Google, read posts on CAL and scroll down my Facebook timeline. It was then that I came across this recipe in another Bengali food group posted by a lady who was remembering the stories of her Grand Aunt who was a widow and how her life transformed at the age of 16 and her life after that. This recipe was one which her Grand Aunt used to prepare for her siblings whenever they used to visit her. And as luck would have it, my battery conked off even before I could get to the end of the post. The rest of the night, I kept thinking about that Grand Aunt and how her life would have been when she lost her husband at the age of 16 and her struggles and sacrifices she had to make to survive in that rigid society! As for the recipe, I decided to go ahead with whatever little I could remember. I may have missed a few ingredients here and there, but nevertheless, it was truly an awesome dish without any onion or garlic, as it was the custom for widows in those days!
10-15 baby potatoes or as per your serving size
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp heeng
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 whole red chillies or as per your taste
2 tsp tamarind paste or 1 medium tomato pureed (if using tomato, you might need to add 1 tsp lemon juice to make up for the sourness)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (deggi mirch/kashmiri chilli powder)
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp oil (mustard oil preferably)
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing (I was out of stock)
Par boil the potatoes and peel and keep aside. Do not cut the potatoes, unless you are using regular potatoes.
Meanwhile, dry roast the coriander seeds and whole red chillies. Grind them in a grinder with a dash of water and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add the fenugreek seeds and heeng. Fry for a second or two just until the seeds brown a little. Now add the peeled potatoes and the kashmiri chilli powder and fry till golden on all sides. Now add the ground paste, tamarind paste/tomato paste and salt and mix well. Rinse the grinder in which you ground the masala with about 1/4 cup water and add it to the pan. Coat the potatoes well with the sauce and cover for 5 minutes. The sauce should by now coat the potatoes properly and the excess water dried up. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with pooris, paratha or steamed rice!