These potatoes are full of rambunctious spice and tangy tomato, golden with turmeric, and fragrant with garlic and ginger. Breaking the potatoes, rather than mashing or slicing, gives a delight of texture. The variety of sizes means that each piece of potato has absorbed differing amounts of flavor, making each bite unique. It’s all about variety, that spice of life. The potatoes are good hot, but they are also good cold. But like Goldilocks, I find room temperature is just right.—Marlena Spieler
1 pound small new potatoes, such as Jersey Royals, Pink Fir Apples, or creamers
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Several large pinches sea salt, preferably coarse grain or flaked
5 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
6 to 8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons yellow or black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
Large pinch of ground coriander
Pinch of asafetida
Medium to large pinch of red pepper flakes
4 to 6 large ripe tomatoes, grated over the large holes of a box grater
Pinch of ground cumin
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until they are just tender; drain and set aside. When cool enough to handle, hold on to each with a clean towel and peel, then break the potatoes up coarsely with a fork, each potato into 3 or so pieces; remove any extra skin that can be picked out and toss the broken potatoes with the turmeric, using a little more than called for in the recipe, if needed, to turn the potatoes a golden yellow. Season to taste with salt.
2. In a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, shallots, and mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop a little, then sprinkle in the cumin seeds, coriander, asafetida, and red pepper flakes.
3. Add the tomato and cook mixture over medium heat until it makes a sauce, then gently add the potatoes and toss them in the tomato mixture until well combined.
4. Continue to cook down until the tomatoes turn into a thick sauce that clings to the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and sprinkle with ground cumin. Serve warm, or at room temperature, sprinkled with the chopped cilantro.
Recipe © 2007 by Marlena Spieler. All rights reserved.