The Indian Festival of Lights, or Diwali, is tomorrow, and to celebrate, we got some cooking tips from expert Ramin Ganeshram, the author of Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago (Hippocrene Books, 2006; 2nd edition Spring 2010). After the jump, she shares her recipe for aloo talkari, a potato curry, and a popular flavor of the annual Diwali celebrations. Click below for the complete recipe, and learn more about Ramin by visiting her website.
This curried dish was a specialty of my aunts and is a particular favorite of my husband. It is up to you whether to peel the potatoes. I generally don’t, since the skins add flavor.
3 tablespoons canola oil or ghee
4 medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder
2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped cilantro
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the potatoes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes; stir, browning on all sides.
- Stir in the green beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown and blister. Add the onions and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the garlic and stir well. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Mix in the curry powder and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until the curry just begins to release its aromas. Add the broth and salt, partly cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and simmer for 15 minutes more, or until the liquid is reduced by half. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with roti.
Variation: Omit the string beans if you want Curried Aloo.
Chef’s Tip: Many East Indian-based dishes call for ghee as the preferred oil. Ghee is toasted clarified butter, which can be purchased in Eastern markets but can also be easily made at home. Melt 1 stick of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter melts, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sediment settles to the bottom of the pan and the oil is a golden brown color. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and store in a sealed container. Ghee may be stored either refrigerated or in a dry cupboard for up to 2 weeks.
Photo: JP Vellotti
- Nat Geo Expeditions