I travel 14 Km's to and fro from office to home and then begin my cooking expeditions. So when there is a 120 second traffic signal, i switch off my engine and think what to cook tonight ?
So last evening i remembered i had some potol in he fridge. For ages my husband has detested the vegetable and i have loved it. As a kid, we used to have a huge "Lokhi" pujo at home and as per Bengali rituals, when you serve Goddess Lakshmi the "bhog" there should be some 6 different types of fried vegetables, or maybe more. My favorite used to be the beans with grated coconut, the fried potatoes and of course the humble "Potol".
And ooh Dalna refers to most cooked vegetables, be it potatoes or even egg !
So i reach home, call Ma and ask her to give me the original Bengali recipe for the cooking. Now my mother never gives me measurement in terms of 1 teaspoon or 2 pinches. She says , you should judge your food, and smell it well..there can never be any perfect measurements since evryones palate is different. Since her son-in-law hates chillies, she advises me before hand "lonka kom dibi " (put less chilly)
I did use it sparingly !
Stuff needed for the aaloo potoler daalna
6 potol(the tips to be cut and then cut in round rings)
4 potatoes( chopped roughly)
3 tablespoons of Mustard Oil
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon jeera seeds
1 tej pata
salt to taste
sugar to please
For the gravy paste
1 teaspoon dhaniya powder
1 tespoon jeera powder
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 Tomatoe roughly chopped
1 green chilly
2 small elaichi
1 small stick of daalchini
Some fresh dhania leaves
Make a paste of the above and keep ready
To start cooking the good stuff now...
Take a large kadai (wok) and heat some mustard oil. You can absolutely use regular oil, but i am a woman who wants the kitchen to smell divine and get a kick in her palate with the mustard punch !
Add your potatoes and fry them on high flame.
While your potatoes are getting cooked, take a bowl and put some turmeric, chilli powder and salt in it. Run your potol in this mixture and keep aside.
When your potatoes are nearly cooked remove them and put in the colorful potol to be fried in the same oil. Wait till the potol becomes soft and small.
At this time i pick out one botol, blow it cold and gobble one. the crunch of the seeds and the munch of the flesh and the flavours of the chilly mustard and salt !!
Add some more oild to the kadai, after removing the potol, heat it well, and add some jeera seeds and a bayleaf (tej pata). Hear the seeds sizzle and watch the bayleaf wilt.
Pray to your ancestors, take a step back, stretch out your hands over the kadai and add the paste into this fragrant oil !!
And then miracles start happening, the kitchen smells of ginger and garlic, my apron gets coated with some drops of the paste and i smile ! This is what cooking is all about
Add your sugar and salt , fry the paste well. In between, if you are like me, you will add some chilli powder too !! when asked how come it got spicy, you will blame it on that one single hyperactive green chilly you had used :)
To this mixture add the aaloo and the potol. Let the three unite in culinary harmony of spices, colors and a mad womans love for food !
PS : Those are the husbands fingers holding steady for this shot
While the mixture finds love and makes new bonds with the others, add some water, coat it all well and cover it , to cook on low hear for 10 minutes. Now you can cook it for less , considering how soft your vegetables are and how thick the gravy is .
At times like these when you have to wait for 10 minutes , take this opportunity to look around. I looked around and found i should introduce you to the new member in my kitchen shelf.
I promise i will get you the hidden secrets inside, but without their difficult details of 125 mil of sesame oil or 4gms of mushrooms !!
And now , its time i look pretty and get ready to bring out the daalna :)
I know you want to remove that bayleaf..but guys..did you know?? As a kid i hated it when a bayleaf landed on my plate, to which my mom would say " when you get a bayleaf in your plate, you mother-in-law would be very fond of you "
It turned out to be true :)
and what about you ha ??