Aloo Matar

It’s been a year of massive changes. I remember sitting with my 6 week old daughter on my lap, my then 19 month old running around wondering ‘who is that new creature in mom’s lap’ and devising ways of getting rid of the distraction including telling my mom she can take her to India with her. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed, drowning in the sea of diapers and colored poop. Much as I love my kids, I knew I needed an outlet, something that would take me beyond baby talk, Barneys and Elmo’s. Blogging came to mind. I do not remember the first time I read a blog but I remember being fascinated by it. As soon as thought of it, I did it. I completely enjoyed the 30 minutes or so I spent each day coming up with content for my blog and catching up with other blogs. Those 30 minutes refreshed my mind, putting me in better frame of mind and renewing my patience threshold.

A year from then, here I am. A working mom, three blogs, and a writing stint on Dining Hall, I am suddenly stretched all over the place. Not complaining, though. I am enjoying it all. One year of blogging, 56 posts-a little over a post a week, I am feeling very satisfied. And yes, nowadays, I definitely spend more than 30 minutes blog-hopping. Ah, so many blogs, so little time….

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Aloo Matar

There is nothing complicated about Aloo Matar. Potatoes and Peas, dry or smothered in gravy, there is a variation in every cuisine in India. Everybody has their own recipe for doing it, they are all equally good. It is very hard to mess this one up. I was running low on groceries on a day we had a few unexpected guests. Aloo Matar is definitely on the menu in such times. However, I wanted to zing it up a bit and added some extra ingredients making it into rich curry. We all enjoyed every last drop of it. I have made a couple times more, with different medleys of vegetables, it is the gravy that makes it super.

Deep-fry/Shallow-fry/Oven Roast

2 Medium sized Potatoes chopped into bitesize cubes

I have tried each of the above methods. Deep fry is quick, good (when is it not) but oily. Shallow fry takes a lot of time and effort. Oven roasting gives it a wonderful taste. Remember to salt it and give a light coating of oil before roasting. Roasting takes time, too but gives a subtle nuance to the taste. Try it.
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Heat

1 tbsp Peanut Oil

in a wok/kadhai/pan on medium-hot flame. Add

½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds.

When they start sputtering, stand back, brace yourself and add

3 tbsp of Basic Onion-Tomato Gravy

And immediately cover the pan. There will a lot of sputtering and spewing. Adding liquids to hot oil will do that. Lowering the flame will slow down the release of the oil/ghee in the paste. You end up having to fry it as you would for onions and tomatoes. So what? Arre, the whole point of the paste is to save you time. You can make fresh gravy using the same recipe linked above. I won’t be impressed, but I Promise, I won’t hold it against you. 🙂 When the sputtering stops, remove the lid and stir the paste around till the oil comes out. Add

Potatoes, prepared as above,
1 cup frozen peas,
1 cup water,
Salt to taste

Adjust salt, if you have added salt to potatoes while roasting. Mix and bring to a boil. There is nothing to cook here. The potatoes are already cooked, the frozen peas cook in a jiffy. All you want is for everything to get together. Once it boils, remove from flame and add

2 tbsp Ricotta Cheese

You can substitute with cream. The ricotta cheese melts into the gravy giving it a nice sheen and different texture. Try it. Even cottage cheese is good, however, it will add more of a tang that will need accounting for. Mix, place back on a low heat and let the flavors all fuse together.
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Serve with Rotis/Parathas and a salad.

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15 thoughts on “Aloo Matar

  1. Vee,
    The recipe sounds yummy. It is great to to see such recipe being given with instructions in the quickest cooking time as any working woman would want it.
    I am definitely going to this and the Onion-Tomata gravy paste. The paste shall ease up more than half the cooking time – cutting the onions & tomatoes, frying them together with all the spice powders etc.,.
    I have heard lots of advices how the food you take should always be fresh. But it doesn’t apply for working women especially with kids. Either you be smart and start following these great ideas to simplify your life or be more aggressive and follow the traditional styles, which I believe needs a super-woman kinda attitude.
    Thanks for the recipe Vee.

  2. Roopa,Try it with the ricotta cheese and try cottage cheese, too. Both give a different texture to it.

    Gita, I am definitely no superwoman. 🙂
    I look at it this way, making a paste in advance is much better and quickly concocting a meal is much better than bringing take out or opening a can or even defrosting a readymade curry. This way , atleast I can control the ingredients.

  3. Vee-
    even though you might feel a bit stretched, I still enjoy your writings very much! I think it’s good to do something just for yourself, it rubs off on everything and everyone else in your life- I know I’m having fun with it! It shows, pel. It shows

    Those frozen cubes of “instant” Punjabi masala are a big time-saver it sounds…especially if you want to make a small dish. I have the urge to make this or that and when it involves cutting onions fine and then browning them, I find myself going for something simpler if I’m too tired…Taking one day/afternoon to do it is a very efficient method…I wonder if a lot of the Indian restaurants in the U.S. do that too….

    Restaurants definitely have pre-made sauces and sauces made in advance. That is not a bad thing. The bad thing is not letting the ingredients cook in the sauce to impart its own flavor to it. You have to let the star of the dish do its thing with the sauce,othertwise it is just boiled vegetables/meat dunked in the sauce and every curry tastes the same.

  4. Vee – congratulations on your blog’s anniversary. I love coming to your blog and reading your posts and recipes. Cheers to another wonderful year!

    Thanks a lot! Here’s to more eating and more chatting…

  5. ding, ding, ding we have a winner!

    The thing about curry is it can be anything you want it to be. Which is why many Indian restaurants in the US can serve what they serve and get away with it by calling it a curry! 😉

  6. Thank you! Thank you! I accept the non-prize with a deep bow.

    Appointments for picture-shoots can now be made with my assistant, the Google Calendar.

    Ah, I see your bait and I raise you {drumroll} a can of jackfruit raw or ripe, your pick ! 👿

  7. vee, i’ve been coming back again and again since you posted this, just to look and sniff. will try it out some day.

    Does the photo meet your approval? Does it make you dream Aloo Matar? 😀
    Bee, you are never going to live down that post at DH 😀

  8. i know. i’m now the self-professed photography expert, even though i don’t know the difference between one setting and the other on my camera.

    welcome to my world! I just click, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the times, I am fighting off the kids circling my leg when I click. Its amazing the angles I get.
    What camera do you use? I use a Canon Powershot S2 IS, though for all I know, I might as well be using a hot shot camera. Remember those?

  9. we use a canon digital rebel. 300D (????) i’m not sure and a 50/1.4 lens most of the time. i am the cropping queen. i can do good crop jobs out of shyte pics. the best pics are often the unplanned ones.

    Now, crop jobs, I can use the help with. Email coming your way

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