Cook this: Thali walle aloo chutney

“Who knew potatoes could be dipped in mint sauce?

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Our cookbook of the week is Thali by Maunika Gowardhan. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.

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To try another recipe from the book, check out: tariwalla murgh (homemade chicken curry) and Punjabi matar paneer (spicy paneer with tomato and green peas).

Maunika Gowardhan fell in love with this Lucknowi dish during a visit to Uttar Pradesh nearly a decade ago. Cooks in the northern region of India usually fry the potatoes until they are crispy and golden, she recalls, before adding them to the mint sauce.

“I think there’s something so nice about it,” Gowardhan says. “It seemed like such an ostentatious dish because it has cashews in it. There is Greek yogurt. But I feel like every aspect is so, so nice for a delicious vegetarian meal.

A sign of the dish’s versatility, she’s seen people add cauliflower or eggplant to the base sauce instead of potatoes.

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Gowardhan favors new potatoes here, ideal for spring. But peeling 800 grams of tiny tubers “is no joke,” she laughs. “So feel free to use regular potatoes. It works well, as long as they are fried crispy, delicious and beautiful, and added to a piping hot mint sauce.

Once you’re ready to serve with pulao or naan, be sure to garnish the potatoes with matchsticks of fresh ginger: “Ginger does something really special in most dishes when you add it at the end. »

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Thali by Maunika Gowardhan
Thali is the second book by chef and author Maunika Gowardhan. Photo by Hardie Grant Books


New potatoes in spicy mint sauce

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) new potatoes, peeled and halved if large
1 heaped teaspoon coarsely ground cumin seeds
150 g (5 oz) white onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, whipped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sweet pepper powder
250 ml (1 cup) of water
Salt, to taste
Pinch of garam masala
1 tbsp chopped cilantro, to garnish
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint, to garnish
1 teaspoon ginger, cut into matchsticks, to garnish

For the green chutney:
50g (2oz) cashew nuts
75 g (2 1/2 oz) fresh mint leaves
50 g (2 oz) cilantro, leaves and stems
5 cm (2 in.) ginger root, coarsely chopped
1 green bird pepper
pinch of sugar
150 ml (just 2/3 cup) of water

Step 1

First prepare the green chutney. Add all the chutney ingredients to a blender and blend to a smooth, fine paste. Put aside.

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2nd step

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan or kadhai over medium heat and add the potatoes. Fry for 18-20 minutes, stirring often as they begin to brown and cook. Now put the lid on and cook for another 7-8 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Step 3

Transfer the potatoes to a plate lined with paper towel, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, still over medium heat. Add the coarsely crushed cumin seeds and sauté for a few seconds, then add the sliced ​​onions and sauté, stirring well, for 8-10 minutes until beginning to brown. Add the green chutney and mix well. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the moisture begins to evaporate.

Step 4

Remove the pan from the heat and add the yogurt, a little at a time, stirring well, along with the ground coriander and chili powder. Return the pan to low heat and simmer for 1 minute. Add the water and simmer for another 2 minutes, then add the salt, garam masala and sautéed potatoes. Turn off the heat and garnish with matchsticks of fresh coriander, mint and ginger. Serve hot with pulao or naan.

Serves: 4

Recipe and image taken from Thali: A Joyful Celebration of Indian Home Cooking by Maunika Gowardhan. Text copyright Maunika Gowardhan. Photograph copyright Sam Harris. Published in 2021 by Hardie Grant Books, an imprint of Hardie Grant Publishing.

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