Monday, June 06, 2011

#blogjune Day 6: In which I bite a caterpillar's bottom and share a recipe

Spent the day with a whole lot of others, gathering for fellowship and inspiration and faith renewal. The children were pretty good through the long services.

Came home and did housework, DH mowed the lawn.

Miss4 rediscovered this wretched toy yesterday.  In case you didn't realise, it drives me nuts eventually.

#dailyimage2011 6 June bite me

Janine asked for this recipe so here it is :)  It is a great vegetarian recipe.  I add chickpeas or kidney beans to bump up the protein factor if I use it as a vegetarian main.

Batata Nu Shak ( Spicy potatoes with tomatoes)
(from Flavours of India / Madhur Jaffrey (1995) London: BBC Books, ISBN: 0563370777, pg. 69)
Serves 4-6

4 Tbsp vege oil
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried hot red chillies
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp gr. asafoetida (hing)*
10 fresh curry leaves if available**
4 small potatoes (450g) peeled or unpeeled, cut into 1cm pieces
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp gr turmeric
2 tsp salt
2 fresh hot green chillies
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger peeled and finely grated
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh green coriander
2 med sized tomatoes chopped into 2.5cm dice (I use a can of chopped tomatoes)
1 1/2 Tbsp desiccated coconut
1/2 Tbsp jaggery or brown sugar
3/4 Tbsp thick tamarind paste ***

Heat the oil in a large, wide, preferably non-stick pan or wok over medium high heat.
When hot, put in mustard seeds.  As soon as they pop, a matter of seconds, add the cumin seeds, red chillies, bay leaves and asafetida.  Stir for 4-5 secs and add the curry leaves.  Stir once and add potatoes, cayenne pepper, turmeric, salt, green chillies and ginger.  Stir to mix.
Add 150ml water.  Cover and simmer for 10 mins over low heat.
Now add the fresh coriander, tomatoes, coconut, gr. coriander, jaggery or brown sugar and 350ml water.  Stir to mix, then cover again and leave to simmer for a further 10 mins.  Add the tamarind pastes. Simmer for a further 2-3 mins.  Remove from heat.
Serve with Indian breads as part of any Indian meal.

* Asafoetida is a strong smelling spice that replaces the use of garlic/onion in some Indian dishes.  I don't mind the smell, but some people find it very pungent.  Keep it in a sealed container.  It can be obtained from any Indian spice store.  It smells very strong when you use it but when cooked has a mellow flavour.

**Curry leaves are often sold in my PakNSave near the vermicelli in the vege section.  Also obtainable from Asian and India stores.  They freeze well and I have them in the freezer, helping myself when needed for curry dishes.

*** You can buy tamarind in a couple of forms from Asian stores and Indian food stores. I usually buy the dried cake form which I then break a piece off and reconstitute it with boiling water.  I then press it through a tea strainer to get the paste and strain out the seeds.  You can get it in concentrate form too, which is more convenient since you don't have to get the seeds out, but be careful to get the dilution factor correct.  Too much will overpower the dish.  You can use lemon juice if you don't have any on hand as tamarind is a souring flavour.


  1. Thanks for sharing that recipe Penny. We are doing meatless Monday meals in our home and I trying to break out of my comfort zone and try new recipes. The cool thing is we have an asian store at our local shops....and I like the tips you included. This recipe I will try in the next few weeks. Can I be a pain can you also share you dahl recipe please? A day of fellowship and inspiration and faith renewal sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day. Um that photo of you and the caterpillar is funny, it looks like one of the ones you submit a caption too.

  2. He he our lawns weren't the only ones to get mowed! Delicious sounding recipe - will have to try it - thanks for sharing!