indian spiced potato salad

one of the attributes i imagine is useful in a blogger is a constant desire to find new and more interesting recipes. I’ve been like this ever since I began cooking, eschewing the classic recipes we had for things like chocolate biscuits in favour of recipes i’d never tried before. to me repeating the same recipe over and over was boring, especially if it was one that could be described as -shock horror- easy or quick to whip up!

this concept is so foreign to my mum, which i guess sort of makes sense when you’re a working mama with 3 kids ;).
But even as a harried mother I can’t imagine enjoying settling for easy, tried and true recipes – it’s just not in my DNA.  of course there are my favourite recipes but i’d always sacrifice a little extra time and effort on improving or jazzing up a dish. yes, easy for me to say – leisurely student with nothing but time on my hands and few responsibilities!

to this day, when i’m home and i decide to bake something and my family requests one of the classic recipes, i sulkily mooch off to scour food blogs and recipe books for a newer, ‘better’ edition… perhaps the maxim ‘if its broke don’t fix it’ is something i’ll learn with age ;).

however, the upside to this this wilful, stubborn streak is that it occasionally culminates in very perfect recipe discoveries. along with this wonderful recipe, there is also a  perfectly stunning rhubarb tart recipe i’m dying to show you!

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sorry, back to potato salad but not as you know it- no mayonnaise, spring onions or bacon here- i guarantee you won’t miss them! instead, we take waxy new potatoes, coat them in an indian spice mixture and roast until perfectly crispy. then we layer them with the fresh, zingy “chaat salad” of juicy cucumber, red pepper, mint leaves and lemon juice.
the garnishes though, in my humble opinion, are what really make it. you take a whole cup of coconut chips (the flakes, not the desiccated thread stuff) and toast it, you get amaranth and pop it like popcorn, unsweetened greek yoghurt, and make a tamarind sauce out of tamarind pulp.

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my meandering introduction was really just a longwinded way of telling you it’s complicated, and will take some time, requiring dirtying several bowls, 2 saucepans and a roasting tin. fiddly, but equally what elevate it from standard everyday stuff to a salad that’s pretty special.

I served it with my favourite sticky chicken, roasted asparagus and some sautéed silverbeet (aka chard), but it would be also very yummy brought along to a summer BBQ – you decide!

this recipe is slightly adapted from one in a wonderful recipe book called Ripe Recipes, after the deli in Auckland. this and the sequel A Fresh Batch are some of our favourite cookbooks and we’ve already made so many of the recipes – each one has been absolutely perfect. They are all unabashedly fresh, using beautiful produce and flavours you may not pick to be together but all work fantastically. i don’t expect the books are terribly well known outside of NZ, but they really should be – they rank up with the big names like Jamie Oliver in my eyes.

(psst: no fear of sponsored/affiliate links, i have no idea how to do that stuff!)

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anyway, here is the recipe – let me know if you make it! i promise you won’t regret it :)

indian spiced potato salad

potatoes:

1 kg (2 lb) new potatoes, cut up if large

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tsp salt (I used sea salt and it was lovely, but table is fine)

3 onions, peeled and finely slice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

toss ingredients together in roasting dish, then roast at 180 C/ 350 F for 45- 60 mins, or until potatoes are cooked and crunchy.

chaat salad:
1 fresh chilli, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, finely chopped.

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

juice of a lemon

toss ingredients together, then set aside.
garnishes:

1 cup coconut chips, toasted in a pan

3 tbsp amaranth,** popped in a pan (optional if unavailable/undesired)

1 cup greek (unsweetened) yoghurt
tamarind* sauce:

1/4 cup tamarind pulp

1 1/2 cups water

5 tbsp brown sugar

bring ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan, then bring down to a simmer for 10 minutes. if your tamarind pulp is stringy/fibrous, or has seeds, strain sauce through a sieve.

to assemble, layer half the potatoes, then half the chaat salad, then about a third of the coconut/amaranth, some of the tamarind sauce and greek yoghurt, then the other half of the potatoes, the final half of the chaat salad, then the rest of the sauces, and the last of the coconut/ amaranth to finish.

enjoy!

*so whats the deal with tamarind, i hear you ask? well, it’s a delicious sour pulp that comes from the pods of the tamarind tree. you can either buy it as a pulp or paste (unless you live in a country where it is grown, i’m guessing – in which case, lucky you!)
From what i’ve gathered, the pulp is just that, while the paste has stuff like water, sugar and salt added. I went down to the local asian supermarket and was spoilt for choice, eventually opting for a massive vacuum packed block of pulp for just $2. I know it seems like a luxurious/exotic ingredient, but it can be used in so many asian recipes and is really deliciously sour – if you enjoyed sour worms or sour patch kids as a child, you will definitely enjoy it. i like it in my sticky chicken, in the dressings of thai salads, and i think you can even make cocktails with it! i reckon you could even sub it in for lemon juice in the right context.

**in regards to amaranth, i’m really not the best person to ask as it was just something we happened to have in the cupboard (family’s gone to the hippy dark side, remember). Sarah from My New Roots has a fantastic post on it over here. in terms of tracking it down, your local health store or possibly a well stocked supermarket should have it – don’t despair if you can’t track it down! toasted sesame seeds could also be a yummy substitution if you’re tolerant of them.

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