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Pav Bhaji

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Maharashtrian Crispy Potatoes

This recipe for Maharashtrian fried potatoes or “Batatyachi Bhaaji” is from my mother. It is a crispier and simpler version of Bombay Potatoes and is delicious as a side with an Indian meal. There are very few spices in here but together they create a taste that is unique to that part of India. At home, we would have it with rotis or rice and daal. The only thing you need is a little bit of patience and some knife skills.

Serves: 4                   Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • 500 g large Maris Piper potatoes
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil (Groundnut oil is best but Sunflower or olive will do)
  • 1-2 hot green chillies chopped (use only one if you are looking for a medium heat level)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Salt

Method:

Peel and wash the potatoes (yes I do it the other way around because soil can get on the peeled potatoes).  Slice each potato lengthways to yield two oblong halves.  Now slice each one lengthways again but leave on the chopping board, flat side down.  Hold the two quarters together and slice them thinly into slices that are about 2 mm wide.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed karahi or pan. When it is very hot (not smoking hot but approaching that) add the mustard seeds.  They should start crackling furiously.  If not, then the oil is not hot enough and you should wait until the seeds are crackling.  Add the cumin as the mustart seeds are crackling, so almost immediately afterwards.  These should crackle and rise to the surface of the oil as well. Lower the heat and add the asafoetida.  Let this sizzle for a second and add the chopped chillies.  Let these cook in the oil for 3-4 seconds.  This may give off chilli fumes that make you cough and unfortunately that is one of the side effects of this method of cooking! Add the turmeric, stir and add the potatoes. Add the chopped coriander and salt. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook the potatoes without a lid, stirring once every minute until they are done. They should go crispy in places and that will add to the texture and taste. You can check whether they are done by breaking a piece.

Serve as a side in an Indian meal.

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