Let me introduce you to the first part of one of the most amazing brunches known to man (and woman) – Potato and Cashew Nut Curry with Little Deep Fried Breads, also known as Sukha Bateta Nu Shaak and Masala Poori.
My heart just did a little somersault.
My fondest memories of eating this dish lie with the time I lived with my parents. Waking up on sleepy Sunday mornings (or to be more accurate, Sunday midday in my case) to the smell of aromatic curry leaves, fresh ginger and freshly fried spicy dough permeated my nostrils, coaxing me out of bed and into the kitchen to witness exactly what everyone needs to experience at least once in life – Bateta Nu Shaak and Masala Poori for brunch.
The whole shebang was like a starved bear waking up from hibernation to the smell of honey-drenched baklava. Well, something like that anyway.
This dry curry epitomises Gujarati cooking with its fluffy potatoes, crunchy cashews and light spicing, complimented by a squeeze of zingy lemon juice. Garnish with a handful of chopped coriander and black pepper for the ultimate texture and flavour combination to be scooped up with some light and puffy poori.
Sautéing the potatoes in ghee gives the curry a wonderful buttery taste, but if you’re vegan, replace the ghee with oil. If you’re not, use the ghee – it’s really worth it.
As I’ve said before, Gujarati cooking is about keeping flavours simple (unlike the complex levels of spicing in other Indian cuisines), you can get away with using as little spice as possible, as long as you remember the cardinal rules: Keep it hot, sweet and sour, and don’t forget the curry leaves, ginger and fresh coriander.
1kg potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes, then boiled in salted water until tender, drain
3 tbsp ghee
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
6 curry leaves
¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)
2 tsp green chilli, or to taste
3 tsp ginger, minced
10-15 whole cashew nuts
3 tbsp concentrated tomato purée
¼ tsp turmeric
3 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1. Heat the ghee in a large non-stick pan, add the cumin seeds, ginger, chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and cashew nuts. Sauté for a couple of minutes until aromatic and the cashews become golden. Add the tomato puree and turmeric and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add the boiled potatoes, reserving around 6-7 pieces. Mix gently and cook on a low heat. Meanwhile, mash the reserved potato cubes and mix into the rest of the potato curry. Cook on a very low heat for another 8-10 minutes, avoiding too much mixing. Add the salt, sugar, lemon, coriander and black pepper and remove from the heat.
Serve with freshly fried poori (which I will show you how to make next week if either of us can wait that long) and a bowl full of plain, natural yogurt and you’ll be in heaven.
Do you have a favourite Indian breakfast/brunch dish?
Here are a few of mine:
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