Category Archives: Dinner

Tinga de Pollo y Papas

Most of what we in the United States think of as Mexican food is derived from the post-conquest cuisines of the border states of Chihuahua and Sonora. The Spanish influence is seen in the heavy use of cheese and meat which were virtually unknown in pre-Columbia Mesoamerica.  Farther south in Puebla and Oaxaca the food retains more of its traditional character. Chef and cookbook author Rick Bayless champions this distinctly more interesting cuisine. This recipe, which I adapted from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen (New York: Scribner, 1996), pp 322-323, is an example from Puebla. Traditionally, tinga does not contain potatoes but Bayless’s use of them gives the dish an interesting texture and flavor. And, after all, potatoes are in the same botanical family and originated in the same area of South America as do tomatoes. In Mexico City, tinga is served on crispy tostadas topped with queso fresco and a slice of avocado. I usually present it with a plate of warm corn tortillas, shredded sharp cheddar, and avocado if I have some.

Ingredients

Garlic, unpeeled

3 or more cloves

Canned chipotles en adobo

2 or more to taste

Tomatoes, diced or whole

1 14-ounce can

Chicken fat, oil, lard, or combination

30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons) divided use

Chicken thighs, skinless*

2

Boiling potatoes

3 or 4 medium, about 250 grams (½ pound)

Onion, yellow or white

1 medium, about 125 grams (¼ pound)

Dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1 teaspoon

Salt

To taste

Tortillas, corn or flour, to serve

3 or 4 per person

Avocado slices and cheese, to garnish

To taste

* bone-in are best.

 Method

Put the garlic cloves, unpeeled, in a small dry skillet over medium heat, turning from time to time, until they have softened. When cool enough to handle, remove the peels and put into a food processor or blender along with the chipotles and tomatoes with their juice. Process to a smooth puree.

Warm 15 milliliters (1 Tablespoon) of the fat in a heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat. When nearly smoking, pour in the puree and cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium-low and submerge the chicken thighs in the sauce. Cover and simmer until the meat is done, about 25 minutes. Remove the thighs to a plate, leaving as much sauce as possible behind. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones in large shreds.

Using the coarse grating disk of the food processor or a hand grater, shred the potatoes. Roll them into a kitchen towel and squeeze out as water as possible. Thinly slice the onion. Add the remaining fat to a large non-stick skillet (I use a 12” one) over medium heat. Cook the potatoes and onions, tossing or stirring regularly, until well browned. Pour in the sauce, sprinkle on the oregano, and fold in the chicken. Heat through and season to taste with salt.

Turn the finished tinga into a warmed serving bowl. Present with warmed tortillas and garnishes.

Roasted Duck with Root Vegetables

Duck with root vegetables

Although the consumption of duck in the United States has risen by some 35% over the past two decades it lags far behind that of chicken. Roughly 24 million ducks are eaten here annually compared with more than eight billion chickens. Price accounts for part of that: duck costs two to three times what chicken does. But perhaps the main reason we eat less duck than many other countries is misinformation. Many people think that duck is difficult to prepare and high in fat: the first is untrue, the second true but with a caveat. Yes, duck, being a water bird and thus needing a layer of insulation, has more fat than chicken. But like with chicken, the fat is subcutaneous meaning that the meat itself is quite lean. And duck fat, much prized in France and elsewhere as a cooking fat, is about halfway between olive oil and butter in composition. Duck fat contains 50.5% monounsaturated fats, 35.7% saturated fats, and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats compared to olive oil with 75% monounsaturated, 13% saturated, and 12% polyunsaturated and butter with 21% monounsaturated, 51% saturated, and 3% polyunsaturated. Duck is no harder to cook than chicken but must be handled a bit differently to manage that fat. Most recipes for roasting duck call for pricking the skin and letting the fat collect in the roasting pan. But there is a better way: steaming or poaching the duck to render out the fat before roasting it. Not only does this result in a lean bird with crispy skin but the cooking liquid yields a delicious broth for making gravy and mildly flavored fat perfect for roasting root vegetables. For those I use potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, or parsnips depending on what I have on hand. You can also add some halved Brussels sprouts.

(Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef (NY: Hyperion, 1999), 124-125)

Ingredients

 

Duck

About 2 kilograms

About 4 pounds

White wine or water

250 milliliters

1 cup

Dried thyme

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Dried parsley

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Dried savory, optional

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Assorted root vegetables, cubed

About 1 kilogram

About 1 pound

Flour

About 30 milliliters

About 2 Tablespoons

Salt and pepper

To taste

To taste

Method

Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).

If present, remove the giblets from the duck and set aside for another use. Pat the bird dry and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Truss if desired. Put a rack into the bottom of a large Dutch oven and pour in the wine. Place the duck on the rack and sprinkle on the dried herbs. Bring the liquid to a boil on the top of the stove, cover, and place in the oven.

If your duck does not fit in your Dutch oven, put it on a rack in a roasting pan, adjust the amount of liquid as needed, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Prepare a roasting pan with a rack for the duck and a suitable sheet pan for the vegetables. After an hour, remove the pot from the oven and transfer the duck to the rack in the roasting pan, leaving as much fat and juice as possible behind in the Dutch oven. Pour the cooking liquid and fat into grease separator or a measuring cup. When the fat has risen to the top, separate it from the broth and set both aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 190°C (375°F). Arrange the oven racks so that one is at the lowest level and another is two levels above it. Place the roasting pan with the duck onto the top rack.

If you are using beets, you might wish to parboil them for about 15 or 20 minutes and let cool.

Put the vegetables into a large bowl and toss with some of the duck fat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on the sheet pan in a single layer. Place the pan onto the lower oven rack.

The duck and vegetables should be done in about 40 minutes. Check that the temperature of the duck measured in the thigh is 80°C (175°F) and that the vegetables are tender. Remove the duck from the oven and cover loosely with foil. You can leave the vegetables in the turned-off oven while you make the gravy.

Put 30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons) of the duck fat into a sauce pan. Stir in the flour to make a smooth roux. Strain the broth and add it a bit at a time to the roux while whisking vigorously until it comes to a boil. Keep adding broth until the gravy is the consistency you prefer. If you do not have enough broth, use water or stock.

Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter and place duck on top of them. Serve with the gravy.

Andouille and Sweet Potato Hash

The question “what’s for dinner?” at our house is often rephrased as “what’s about to go bad?” I confess that I sometimes pick up items from the market that look good at the time but which I have no plans for how to use, so they sit accusingly on the counter or in the refrigerator until I am forced to put them out of their misery in the compost bin. And, of course, I then feel guilty for having wasted food. Yesterday I had to euthanize a couple of avocados that went unnoticed from unripe to an unhealthy dark brown. The two sweet potatoes looking on accusingly from a basket on the kitchen counter pled that I not condemn them to the same fate. As luck would have it, a package of Andouille sausage I had bought held a couple more links than would fit in a freezer bag so I had two seemingly compatible ingredients. A hot chili in the crisper drawer—the lone survivor of another enthusiastic purchase—rounded out the tableau. A quick Internet search turned up a suitable recipe which I adapted to suit my tastes.

Serves two as a one-dish dinner; four as a breakfast side dish with eggs.

Ingredients

 

Oil or lard

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Andouille sausage, diced

250 grams

8 ounces (2 medium links)

Cinnamon, ground

1 milliliter

¼ teaspoon

Cumin, ground

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Sweet potato, cut into small dice

400 to 500 grams

about 1 pound (2 medium)

Onion, cut into small dice

150 grams

5 ounces (1 medium)

Jalapeño or bell pepper, seeded and minced

30 grams

1 ounce (or to taste)

Salt and pepper

to taste

to taste

Method

Heat the fat in a skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. If it is raw, cook it until nicely browned; if cooked, as most store-bought Andouille is, simply heat it for about 5 minutes to render some of its fat. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and cumin, stirring to coat evenly.

Add the sweet potato, onion, and jalapeno or bell pepper to the skillet and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook gently until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Gulasz Wieprzowy

In the nearly four years that I have been posting to this blog I have learned a few things about writing recipes. Although I have much yet to learn, I think it appropriate to repost some of my favorites in light of the experience I have gained. I first posted this recipe in September 2011 as Polish Pork Goulash. 

Although goulash is the Hungarian national dish, similar dishes are popular throughout eastern and central Europe, with differing versions being found in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and southeastern Germany. These vary as to the meat used—beef most commonly in Hungary while pork is usual in Poland; the accompanying starch—small egg noodles in Hungary and kasha in Poland; and whether they contain potatoes, tomatoes, or sauerkraut, the last being distinctly Polish. And while Hungarian goulash is made spicy by hot paprika, Poles prefer a milder version. I especially like this Polish-style pork and sauerkraut goulash enriched with sour cream.  

Ingredients

 

Bacon, diced (optional)

56 grams

2 ounces (2 thick slices)

Pork sirloin or butt, cubed

1 kilogram

2¼ pounds

Flour for dredging

about 50 grams

about ¼ cup

Onion, sliced, 3 or 4 medium

350 grams

12 ounces

Garlic, minced

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Sweet paprika

45 milliliters

3 Tablespoons

Lager beer or stock

340 milliliters

12 ounces

Water

as needed

as needed

Sauerkraut, fresh or canned, drained

one 2-pound bag

one 2-pound bag

Caraway seeds, optional

30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Salt and pepper

 to taste

to taste

Sour cream, non-fat or regular

120 milliliters

½ cup

Method

Render the bacon in a large Dutch oven until crispy. Remove and reserve, leaving as much fat as possible in the pot.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the pork cubes in the flour shaking off any excess.

Adjust the fat in the pan with oil, lard, or bacon drippings to make about 45 milliliters (3 Tablespoons). Working in batches, brown the meat well, adding fat to the pan as needed, and set aside.

In the same pot, sauté the onions until soft and translucent but not browned, 5 or 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the paprika and cook for 1 minute. Return the pork to the pot and stir to coat well with the paprika and onions. Pour in the beer or stock and enough water to just cover the meat. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down and cover the pot so that the stew simmers gently for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and raise the heat a bit to maintain a simmer for another 30 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent sticking, until the meat is very tender.

Stir in the sauerkraut and the caraway seeds. Cook, uncovered stirring occasionally, for another 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve the goulash over kasha, buttered noodles, or parsley potatoes. Garnish with the reserved bacon.

Красный Борщ (Red Borscht)

red borschtMost people think of borscht as beet soup, but it is really much more than that. It is nothing less than a one-pot meal of whatever the cook of the house had on hand. In fact, the name of this version, Kрасный Bорщ, literally Red Borscht, suggests that beets are not really essential to the dish. It is peasant cooking at its best: simple and nutritious. And like any peasant cooking there endless variations each claiming to be the only authentic one.

Most of the recipes I found online seem to me to be far more complicated that what babushka would have done in her cauldron over an open fire. She would certainly not have boiled the beets before peeling them. No, she would have browned a beef shank in the pot and simmered in water. While that was cooking she would have peeled and diced the vegetables, not worrying that the beets colored her hands red. After a couple of hours she would have taken the shank out of the pot and cut off of it any meat she could find. That and the vegetables would go into the pot to be simmered until the tender. Near the end of cooking she might add some shredded cabbage and perhaps some kasha. That’s it.  

In this recipe I have skipped forward a step by using prepared stock. Any stock will do: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, vegetable; whatever you have on hand. I keep a supply of homemade stock in the freezer but any good store-bought product will do, although I recommend unsalted so you can control the seasoning. What vegetables you use besides beets is up to you. Potatoes, turnips, carrots, and parsnips are all good. And do not scrimp on the garlic—vampires were always a worry on the steppes.

Ingredients

Note that I have not provided exact quantities of ingredients. Use your judgment.

Beef, cubed                        250 grams (8 ounces)

Butter or oil                       30 grams (2 Tablespoons)

Beets                                     2 or 3 depending on size

Carrots                                 1 or 2 depending on size

Onion                                   1 or 2 depending on size

Potatoes                              2 or 3 depending on size

Stock                                    1 liter (1 quart)

Dill seed                              5 milliliters (1 teaspoon)

Caraway seed                   5 milliliters (1 teaspoon)

Garlic                                    2 or 3 cloves, minced

Cabbage                               ½ head

Vinegar                                30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons)

Kasha                                    100 grams (½ cup) (optional)

Method

Peel and dice the root vegetables and coarsely shred the cabbage. Set aside.

Heat the butter or oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the meat. Add the onion, carrot, and beets to the pot and sweat for about 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are nearly done. Add the dill and caraway seeds, the vinegar, and the cabbage. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes or so. Add salt to taste.

Rinse and stir in the kasha, if using. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes or until the kasha is done.

Serve with a large dollop of sour cream.

Arancini di Riso

arancini di risoSome see leftovers as a problem; I welcome the challenge of letting nothing go to waste. Although many of us today do not have to worry about extracting every last bit of nutrition from the food we buy, that was certainly not the case for our forebears—or for my mother when my siblings and I were children. This simple Sicilian dish of leftover risotto shows how a good cook can stretch the food budget while making delicious wholesome meals. If only we all treated our food as a gift rather than a commodity, we would have a better world.

That said, these little croquettes are so good that it is worth making risotto especially for them. If you do, make sure to let it cool thoroughly before making the arancini. The best way to do that is to spread the rice out on a sheet pan and put it in the refrigerator.

Take the quantities as suggestions only and add whatever other ingredients you like. Peas are a good addition.

Ingredients

 

Onion, minced

50 grams

½ medium

Mushrooms, finely chopped

30 grams

3 or 4

Olive oil

As needed

As needed

Marsala or dry sherry

30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Cream or half-and-half

30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Cold risotto

400 grams

2 cups

Eggs

2

2

Parmesan, grated

30 grams

1 ounce

Salt and pepper

To taste

To taste

Breadcrumbs*

About 100 grams

About ½ cup

Oil for frying

As needed

As needed

* for a gluten free product, use corn flakes pulverized in a food processor.

Method

Heat about 15 milliliters (1 Tablespoon) of olive oil in a fry pan and sauté the onions until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until fragrant. Pour in the marsala and toss until evaporated. Add the cream and boil down until nearly dry. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the risotto, eggs, Parmesan, and the mushroom mixture. Season to taste with sald and pepper. Using your hands form the rice into 3 cm (1¼ inch) balls then flatten each one slightly. Put a quantity of breadcrumbs into a plate and coat the patties.

The arancini can be shallow fried in a skillet or deep fried. I chose the latter, frying them in batches in 175°C (350°F) oil for 4 minutes. If you shallow fry them, make sure that the oil stays hot so that they do not become greasy.  

Ragoût de Boulette du Jour de l’An

My parents were part of the French-Canadian diaspora: the first generation to move from the mill towns of New England where French was heard more often than English and where school—Catholic school at least—was conducted in both languages. Growing up in Delaware I spoke French almost exclusively at home until I started school where there was no language but English. Gradually the language of the home became English—as sadly it has in those mill towns as well. Nevertheless, my mother did cook many traditional French-Canadian dishes although their context was sometimes lost. It was not until, as an adult, I started exploring my Canadian roots that I learned that the ragoût she made from time to time was associated with New Year’s Day, Le Jour de l’An.

As one might well expect of a recipe that has been handed down through a half-dozen or so generations, this one has nearly endless variations, each staking its claim to true authenticity. Still, there are a few invariables: balls of ground pork and beef cooked in stock thickened with a slurry of toasted flour. Most often the stock was purpose-made from pigs’ feet, the meat of which was shredded and added to the meatballs. Today it is not unusual to find recipes calling for chicken, rather than pork, stock. Mostly because pigs’ feet are rather difficult to find where I live, I use a stock made from a pork shoulder bone. The flavor is similar but it lacks the gelatin that the trotters impart. I have used chicken stock when nothing else was available, but the result is—to my taste—a bit flat. The spices always include cloves with some recipes calling for cinnamon and nutmeg while others specify allspice. I use all of them!

Finally, there is the matter of what to serve with the ragoût. Boiled potatoes and beets, boiled or pickled, are traditional. Louis-François Marcotte, chef and owner of Cabine M in Montréal, whose recipe I have translated and adapted here, suggests mashed potatoes. I agree with him—with beets.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

 

Bread, preferably stale, 2 slices

100 grams

3½ ounces

Milk

125 milliliters

4 ounces

Onion, minced, 1 small

100 grams

3½ ounces

Olive oil

30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Ground pork, lean

900 grams

2 pounds

Ground beef

450 grams

1 pound

Allspice, ground

3 milliliters

½ teaspoon

Nutmeg, ground

1 milliliter

¼ teaspoon

Cinnamon, ground

1 milliliter

¼ teaspoon

Cloves, ground, divided use

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Flour (optional)

60 grams

½ cup

Oil and butter, as needed

~60 grams

~¼ cup

Stock, preferably pork

1 liter

1 quart

Water, as needed, divided use

~500 milliliters

2 cups

Toasted flour (see note 1)

60 grams

½ cup

Corn starch (see note 2)

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Salt and pepper

To taste

To taste

Method

Cut the bread into small dice or chop in a food processor. Moisten with the milk and set aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, caramelize the onions in the olive oil.

Combine the onions, bread, ground meats, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 1 milliliter (¼ teaspoon) of the cloves in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper then mix thoroughly with your hands. Rinse your hands, leaving them wet, and form the meat into balls about 25 millimeters (1 inch) in diameter. You should have about 40. If you wish, roll them in the optional flour to coat.

Heat enough of the oil and butter in a heavy skillet to coat the bottom by about 3 millimeters (⅛ inch). When it is nearly smoking, brown the meatballs, working in batches. As they are done, place them in a large Dutch oven or similar pot. Pour the stock over the meatballs and add just enough water to just cover them. Sprinkle on the remaining 4 milliliters (¾ teaspoon) of ground cloves. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.

Put the toasted flour in a lidded jar along with about 125 milliliters (½ cup) of water. Shake vigorously to make a slurry. Add more water, a bit at a time, until it is about the texture of peanut butter. Stir into the stock. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, make a slurry with corn starch and water, stir in and bring to boil for a couple of minutes.

Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

NOTES

1: Toast flour in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat or in a 200°C (400°F) oven, stirring often with a fork to prevent burning. It should be about the color of bread crust.

2: Pigs’ feet add quite a bit of gelatin to stock. A slurry of corn starch and water added near the end of cooking approximates the texture of the original. It is, however, optional.

Kållåda med Skinka

Few things offer as many opportunities to explore the culinary world as leftover ham. It seems as though every culture that eats pork has its own treasures. I suppose this is partly because curing ham was a classical approach to preserving meat before the advent of refrigeration and partly because, at 10 kg or so, a ham yields a lot of leftovers. Perhaps not surprisingly many such ham dishes use vegetables like potatoes or cabbage that were likely to have been available in the winter. This Swedish casserole of ham and cabbage with a bit of cheese is a particularly tasty example. To be authentic it should be made with hushållsost, a Swedish farmer’s cheese often available at IKEA. Since the nearest IKEA is some 200 km distant I made do with a sharp New York cheddar.

Ingredients

Cabbage – ½ medium head, shredded

Onion – 1, red or yellow, thinly sliced

Butter – about 15 g (1 Tablespoon) plus a bit to grease the pan

Ham – 500 g (1 lb.), diced

Eggs – 3 large

Cheese (see above) – 100 g (1 cup), shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Chives, finely chopped, optional

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and simmer the cabbage for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Sauté the onion in butter until it just begins to brown.

Grease a suitable casserole with a bit of butter (or cooking spray if you must). Arrange the ham in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Spread the sautéed onions and then the cabbage over the meat. Whisk together the eggs, cheese, and chives, if using, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the top of the casserole and bake in upper third of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned.

Serve with buttered potatoes.

Gratin Lyonnais

In our house, when I was a child, baked ham was not reserved for Easter (the vaguely anti-Semitic overtones of that tradition did not occur to me until much later) but graced our Sunday dinner table every month or so. The accompaniments were invariable—scalloped potatoes and spinach—which are still my favorites. As much as I like scalloped potatoes though, it is hard to ignore the amount of cream and cheese it takes to make them right. Gratin Lyonnais is a lighter dish that nonetheless is a satisfying foil for ham.

Ingredients

Onion, 1, thinly sliced

Butter, as needed

Potatoes, 1 or 2, I prefer firm chef’s potatoes

Parsley, minced, about 15 ml (1 Tablespoon)

Salt and pepper

Cheese, cheddar or Swiss, shredded, about 125 ml (½ cup)

Breadcrumbs, about 125 ml (½ cup)

Method

Sauté the onions in a bit of butter until soft but not colored. While they are cooking, scrub or peel the potatoes and slice them thinly—I use the 2mm blade in my food processor.

Butter the bottom and sides of a suitable baking dish. Layer half the potatoes on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the sautéed onions over the potatoes and sprinkle on the parsley. Layer the remaining potatoes on top of the onions and season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, combine the cheese, breadcrumbs, and a large pat of butter, pulsing a few times to get crumbles. Spread over the top of the potatoes.

Bake at 190°C (375°F) for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Or, you can put the gratin in oven with the ham at 165°C (325°F) for an hour and half or so.

Mushroom and Potato Curry

We in the West, that is to say those of us of northern European extraction, are inclined to construct our meals around a slab of protein accompanied by a starch and green vegetable. In most other cultures the starch is the central element to be enhanced by protein and vegetables. Inasmuch as our bodies run primarily on carbohydrates—fad diets notwithstanding—this make a lot of sense. The potato has an interesting place in this scheme of things since it can be either a starch or a vegetable. In India no one would dream of replacing rice—or in the north, bread—with potatoes, but that does not stop them from enjoying the ubiquitous tuber. This recipe, which I adapted from Charmaine Solomon, The Complete Asian Cookbook (Dee Why West, NSW: Landsdowne Press, 1976), shows the potato shining in its vegetable role.

Serves two

Ingredients

White mushrooms, 250 g (8 ounces)

Firm white potatoes, 250 g (8 ounces or one large)

Oil or ghee

Onion, 1 medium, halved and thinly sliced

Garlic, 1 clove minced

Ginger, 5 ml (1 teaspoon) grated

Hot chili, 1 minced (to taste)

Coriander leaves, 30 ml (1 Tablespoon) chopped

Tomatoes, 150 g (½ cup) diced, canned are fine

Turmeric, ground, 5 ml (1 teaspoon)

Water

Green peas, fresh or frozen, 150 g (½ cup)

Garam masala, 5 ml (1 teaspoon)

Method

Clean the mushrooms and cut them into quarters or thick slices depending on their size. Wash the potatoes and cut into 25 mm (1-inch) cubes. Set both aside.

Heat the oil or ghee in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion for about 3 minutes or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, and coriander. Fry for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes and turmeric then add the mushrooms and potatoes. Add a bit of water, if needed, to half-submerge the potatoes. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Add the peas to the pan and sprinkle on the garam masala. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Remove the cover and check that the potatoes are done—they should pierce easily with the tip of a small knife. If not done, replace the cover and cook a bit longer. If they are done, raise the heat a bit to drive off excess moisture. Serve with basmati rice and assorted Indian pickle.