Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Spuddy System

So much for the warm weather! The snow is back, and by the time I get home from work, I'm ready for some serious comfort food.

Since I've been working my way through those lovely somsas at lunchtime, and I've been running low on dark leafy greens again, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home to grab some kale and other items.

I thought the ideal dish to go with that steamed kale might be some Indian-spiced potatoes, so I pulled out one of my favorite recipes from The Indian Vegetarian: alu ki sabzi, or diced potatoes in gravy. (Sounds so much better without translation, doesn't it?)

It's an easy dish to throw together since about all you have to do is fry the spices, toss in tomato and cilantro and cook it down, add the diced potatoes and water, and let it simmer. I made it even easier by pulling a few cubes of pureed tomato and cilantro from the freezer (thank you, Foresight!) and tossed those into the frying spices, letting them cook down into a thick, fragrant sauce.

That gave me the time I needed to peel potatoes and a pair of sweet potatoes and to dice them for the dish. Normally I just like the potatoes by themselves in this dish, but since I'm running low on local potatoes and still have an abundance of the sweets -– and since the sweet potatoes added extra nutrition -– well, why not? They're friends, right?

Once I had everything in the pot, I let it simmer about 45 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally, while I got a few other things done. As always, it was worth the wait.

Because of the lengthy simmering period, these potatoes always turn out velvety soft, incredibly well-spiced, and so very, very satisfying. The kale on the side added a nice contrasting, dark flavor, making me feel ever so healthy and virtuous by the end of dinner. (That didn't last long, since I enjoyed a pear-custard bar directly afterward!)

Potatoes and sweet potatoes complement each other so well in dishes like this, where the spices bring out the best of both, that I wonder why I don't combine them more often.

But after a success like this, I know I'll remember to pair them again the next time.


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