Saturday, September 15, 2012

Aloo Matar

While I pretty much always choose chana masala when it comes to making or ordering Indian food, there are times when something different is in order.  Last week we made Aloo Matar: a saucy, somewhat spicy Indian dish with potatoes and green peas.  The dish was easy to make and very filling when served over brown rice; plus, it's full of beautiful colors that brighten up any meal. 

Aloo Matar served over brown rice.

Aloo Matar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • a dash of each of the following spices: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cloves, and nutmeg (or use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala in place of these spices, if you can find it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed and boiled
  • 2 cups frozen peas 
  • salt, to taste
First, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the cumin and bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple minutes. 

Then add the onion, green pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for about five minutes or until the onion and pepper begin to soften. 

Next, add 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes, the jalapeno, and the remaining spices.  Stir together and cook for another three minutes.  Add the remaining crushed tomatoes, potatoes, and peas and cook for two minutes. 

Finally, lower the heat, cover the skillet, and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Salt to taste and serve hot over brown rice.  Yields 6 servings.


We all enjoyed this dish, but we found different elements to be noteworthy.  Rachel commented on how spicy it was (which I didn't notice).  I particularly enjoyed the ginger flavor.  Simon wished there were more vegetables involved, so next time we might include spinach. 
This recipe calls for several spices, and it can get expensive to buy them all just for this recipe.  But don't worry: most of these spices are pretty standard in Indian dishes (or other cuisines!), so any spice purchase will be worth your while. 
 Ease of Preparation:         
This is a pretty easy recipe, but it does require some attention to timing.  To make dinner preparation go more smoothly, make sure you boil the potatoes the day before, or as the first thing you do before chopping everything else.  You can also cook the rice while you're cooking everything else.
Non-vegan friendliness:        
Aloo Matar is a vegetarian dish by design, so there's nothing lacking in this version.  Plus, the potatoes really fill you up. 

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