Potato Tomato is a dish I can make with pantry ingredients. The original recipe, Aloo Ki Longi, is from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. We call it Potato Tomato because potatoes and tomatoes are the main ingredients. I usually serve it over rice but sometimes I eat it plain. Sometimes I add hard boiled eggs. I love it the next day reheated. I make it when it's just me and I make it when there are two of us. It's a great side dish and it's a great lunch. I like it spicy but you can leave out the chilies and cayenne pepper.
When I first made this dish, I used supermarket potatoes and canned tomatoes. Now that I have a garden and awesome farmers nearby, I make it with as many local ingredients as I can. The goal is to only use local ingredients but that's a ways off.
A quick rundown of ingredients.
- Red or yukon potatoes, around a pound
- Cooking oil, a couple tablespoons
- Dried red chilies, 3 or 4
- Panch phoron, a tablespoon
- Tomatoes, about three cups
- Salt, a teaspoon
- Turmeric, quarter teaspoon
- Cayenne, quarter teaspoon
You might not have heard of Panch Phoron. It's a Bengali spice mix. I mix up a big batch using equal amounts of fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella, brown mustard seeds, and cumin seeds. The last time I bought the mix, it had yellow mustard seeds. I prefer brown and that's why I started mixing my own.
The original recipe calls for boiling the potatoes ahead of time. I don't see a need for that. If you're already boiling potatoes for another use, by all means, boil an extra pound for this recipe.
This recipe is flexible. I hesitate to give hard and fast measurements. If you like potatoes more than tomatoes, use more potatoes. If you don't like spicy, use fewer chilies. Or don't use any. Leave out the cayenne. Totally up to you.
Let's get started.
Dice a couple tomatoes. The size doesn't matter as it will cook down. The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes and 1-3/4 cup of water. I chop about 3 cups of tomatoes and leave out the water altogether. I grow a lot of tomatoes and have yet to run out. If I were to run low, I'd use half tomatoes and half water. Mix them together as they will get added at the same time.
Cut a pound of potatoes into bite size chunks. If you decided to boil them, use two forks to pull them apart into chunks while they are still hot. The craggy edges will hold onto the sauce better than nicely sliced chunks. After you make this a couple of times, you'll decide what works best for you.
Add a couple tablespoons oil to a cold pot. I use Rice Bran oil in a 1.5 quart saucepan. Use the oil you prefer. Add three or four Thai chilies to the cold oil and then turn on the heat to medium. When the chilies puff up and start to darken, add about a tablespoon of the panch phoron. The mustard seeds will start to pop. Add tomatoes, a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and the potatoes. Stir. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. I don't always put on the lid because I like some of the liquid to boil off. Cook for about 20 minutes. If you didn't boil the potatoes, cook until the potatoes are soft. If the sauce is too watery, smash a couple pieces of potatoes against the pan and mix into the sauce. I don't always do this as I'm ok with the rice absorbing some of the liquid.
If you have hard boiled eggs, add them. You just want to warm them through. Five minutes should do it.
Serve over rice. A dollop of yogurt is a nice addition as is parsley or cilantro. You might need to add a bit of salt. Enjoy!