Saturday, January 21, 2012

Aloo Potato Dumplings

I made these dumplings for two reasons: 1). I wanted something interesting to dip in my tomato chutney and 2). I got my hands on some fresh curry leaves (which I'd never used before) and I wanted to take them for a test drive. But then while I was cooking, I realized the recipe never said to remove the curry leaves. But I wondered if I should (I guess because they reminded me of bay leaves). So I looked up online what other people do, but I kept reading conflicting reports, so I was more confused than ever. In the end, I left them in (living on the edge). I figured if I took them out, I'd never know. They tasted great, but I wasn't all that jazzed about chewing the whole leaves, so I'll probably chop them up next time. Side note: I'm pretty sure aloo means potato, so I think the title of this recipe is basically the equivalent of saying potato potato dumplings. But Chef Saran is Indian, so who am I to mess with it (I mean really, I don't even know what to do with curry leaves when I get a hold of them).

Makes 20

For the filling:
2 pounds (about 5 medium) red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
24 curry leaves
3 to 6 dried red chiles, coarsely crushed
1-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and minced
1 small jalapeño (seeded and veined if you prefer a milder flavor), finely diced
juice of 1/2 lime

For the batter:
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
1/2 cup water

canola oil for frying
ketchup or tomato chutney

1.      Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes, turmeric and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 25 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
2.      Heat the oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the mustard seeds begin to pop, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the chiles and cook until the curry leaves become brittle, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the ginger and jalapeños and cook for 30 seconds, then transfer the mixture to the potatoes.
3.      Mash the potatoes against the sides of the bowl until they are semi-smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and the lime juice. Take 2 tablespoons of potato mixture and roll into a small ball, repeat with the remaining potato mixture and set aside.
4.      Heat the canola oil to 350° F. in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, make the chickpea flour batter. Whisk together the chickpea flour, cayenne pepper, remaining kosher salt and asafetida (if using) in a small bowl. Whisk in enough water so it resembles a thick pancake batter.
5.      Dip each potato ball in the batter and roll in your hands to evenly coat. Gently drop the ball into the hot oil and fry until it is golden brown, turning and basting often, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the dumplings to a paper towel-lined plate and serve hot with tomato chutney or ketchup.

from American Masala by Suvir Saran
red potatoes
red potatoes, peeled and cut
potatoes boiling with turmeric and salt
boiled potatoes (they look very neon from the turmeric)
curry leaves
jalapeño, dried red chiles and ginger root

As you can see, I used 3 dried red chiles
and these were spicy. I think 6 would kill me.
mustard seeds and curry leaves
chiles added
jalapeño and ginger added
spice misture added to the potatoes
adding salt and lime juice
asafoetida powder

If you can't find asafoetida, I've heard you can substitute
garlic (although, I think you can just omit it from this recipe).
adding water to the chickpea flour mixture

I used Bob's Red Mill garbanzo bean flour
(garbanzo beans are the same as chickpeas)
ball dipped in batter (this part is very messy)
coming out of the fryer (or pot full of hot oil, in this case)
fried aloo potato dumplings
going for a dip in tomato chutney


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