Aloo Masala is a South Indian potato curry.
We will focus on “dosa” or “dosai” in the near future. This is a kind of pancake in South Indian cuisine and a typical – and delicious – breakfast dish there. “Masala Dosa” are enjoyed with a spicy potato filling, and it is this filling that we are presenting today. A recipe for “Rava Dosa”, a version of the pancake with semolina, will follow shortly.
As always, quantities follow at the end of this post, but these can only be suggestions. Some people would eat more for breakfast, some less, than at any other time of the day. Therefore, the proportions of the ingredients are more important in this recipe, for a balanced combination.
Of course, aloo masala is also a great dish without dosa and can be a wonderful part of an Indian “thali”, a mixture of different dishes served at the same time for maximum variety.
The preparation is very simple and goes quickly. Peel the potatoes and boil them in lightly salted water for about 20 minutes until a knife slides easily into their centre, then they are done. Take the potatoes out of the water, but keep some of the cooking liquid.
During this time, heat some neutral vegetable oil (for the vegan version) or ghee (clarified butter) in a pan over medium-high heat and add some cumin and mustard seeds until they start to become fragrant after just under a minute.
Next, roast raw chana dal. These are dried and halved chickpeas.
After about two minutes, the next raw lentils are added, this time Urad Dal. This is a very small, white variety that needs less time to roast because of its smaller size.
After a minute, add chopped cashew nuts and chopped ginger and roast for another minute.
Then plenty of onions cut in half and then in about 3 mm thin strips and some turmeric follow.
This is mixed thoroughly and then allowed to fry for about 4 minutes without the onions browning.
Next, finely diced fresh chilli and some curry leaves. These leaves are rarely available fresh, but dried ones are just as suitable.
Now we also season with salt for the first time, a good tsp to start with. After everything has been mixed well again, the pre-cooked potatoes are also added to the pan.
Then the potatoes are roughly mashed with a wooden spoon; follow your feeling and taste. You can decide whether you want it to be chunkier or creamier, depending on your mood. It is important to stir thoroughly so that all the spices and flavours are well distributed. If the dish seems too dry, add a little of the cooking water from the potatoes.
After another 4 minutes, finally season with salt. Then the curry is given its finishing touch with lime juice (alternatively: lemon) and chopped fresh coriander.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 4 people with dosa, for breakfast):
500 g waxy potatoes
1 tbsp neutral oil or ghee (clarified butter)
Optional: 2 dried red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cashew
2 – 3 cm chopped ginger
3 medium onions (approx. 300 – 350 g)
1 ½ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp curry leaves
2 fresh chillies, green or red
1 bunch fresh coriander