Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Masala Root Vegetables

All hope of an Indian summer disappeared a couple of days ago, with a dark sky, frost on the ground, blustery winds and eventually torrential rain. I turned to my stove, the beginning of any good comfort food. I never turn towards something sweet if I can think of something savoury to make, so Masala Potatoes seemed to be the best choice, however there was a swede staring at me from my vegetable basket and a few of the donkey carrots left (mis-shapen carrots sold at the feed merchant as donkey carrots for a pittance) I decided to extend the Masala Potatoes to include these two other veg.

you will need:

2 baking potatoes
4 large carrots
1 medium size swede.

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
5 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 red chilli chopped
10 curry leaves (if you have them)
 Salt and Pepper.

Begin by peeling the vegetables and cutting them up into chunks, the smaller the chunks the quicker they cook. Place the vegetables in a large pan of boiling water, starting with the swede and carrots, cook on a medium heat until the vegetables are just tender, add the potatoes and cook for a further ten minutes or until the potatoes too are tender, drain the vegetables and set to one side.

In small saucepan (I keep a small deep sided cast iron pan for this purpose but any small saucepan will work) heat the oil and when the oil is hot add the seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the fresh ginger, garlic and fresh chilli, cook for a minute before adding the turmeric and cayenne. If you add the powdered spice too early, you risk burning them, however adding after temperature of the oil has been reduced by the addition of the garlic, ginger and cayenne makes this less likely.

Cook the mixture in the oil until the garlic slices begin to turn pale gold, add the curry leaves and immediately add to the cooked root vegetables. Mash the whole using a potato masher or as I do the "K" tool on my Kenwood mixer. I like the finished spice mash to have a chunky texture but you can mash them until you achieve the texture you like.

As with anything I cook from another culture, my apologies if this is not how you make it, it's my version of something I really enjoy and turn to time after time.
You can make this using potatoes and adding peas towards the end of cooking.
 If you are open to the idea of using butter, adding a tablespoon while mashing, makes the final mash even creamier.

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