Monday, December 05, 2005

Potatoes with Black Pepper

The very first of the handwritten recipes given to me by R is one I never tried till much later, by when I had already gotten a hang of the basics. And a very basic recipe it was. Its certainly not one R came up with herself. She had chosen this one because she was sure, even a novice like me couldn't go wrong with it: Potatoes with Black pepper. And why didn't I ever try it. Well it's not that I didn't. Everytime I decided to try this one and opened the book and read the first line, I had to give up. For the very first line says: "Before cooking this dish, boil the potatoes (in their skin) few hours in advance and then cool and de-Skin". In those early days, my day would be a mad rush to finish the house work (never ending it seemed) and then with a few hours left for A to return from office, I would go to the kitchen and cook the three dishes which was all I could manage in a day. And so never having planned the boiling of potatoes a few hours in advance, I would sigh and turn over to other recipes!

But now I am wiser. I know, that I can boil the potatoes (in their skin, mind you) whenever I want to and not few hours in advance and cool them by holding them under the tap! Hey presto!

So, just for the sake of those days when I didn't know any better here is

"Potatoes with Black Pepper"
You will need:
A few potatoes (600g in the original recipe)
4 tbsp vegetable oil (if you are a begginner and want specific measurements), less or more according to your preference, if not a begginner (but then you wouldn't be reading this basic recipe, would you???)
3/4 tsp salt or like they say "to taste
1 & 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander or parsley

How to
1. Before cooking this dish boil potatoes still in their skins, a few hours in advance or boil them when you'd like to cook and just plunge them in cold water.

2. De-skin and cut into small cubes

3. Heat oil in a non-stick or any other frying pan and set over minimum flame.

4. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and stir gently or you will end up with mashed potatotes.

5. Stir for a minute. Sprinkle salt.

6. Lower flame, cover and cook for 5 minutes. In between, dont forget to stir. (Otherwise, non-stick or not, the potatoes will stick to the pan and cook unevenly).

7. Now sprinkle black pepper.

8. Uncover and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring every now or then, allowing them to brown. (You can also, shake the pan by the handle in a to-and-fro motion. This results in the potatoes rolling around nicely).

(Note: I have NEVER managed to get them evenly browned all over. But they taste good all the same).

9. Sprinkle the leafy garnish of your choice and Viola!

10. Instead of the pepper and coriander and parsley, you can alternatively sprinkle the potatoes with salt and mixed herbs of your choice (thyme, oregano or rosemary).

There is a trick to boiling the potatoes. They shouldn't be over boiled that they collapse while you try to de-skin them. Nor should they be so firm that despite the salt and pepper and herbs, they taste like boile potatoes alone! That is something, this timid cook is still perfecting!!

R's expert comments: This extremely simple and modest recipe can be a great soother when one is ailing from cough and colds and the taste buds in our tongue become quite quite inactive making everything tasteless. Its quick, simple and strangely during those times, very tasty and comforting; So its a must for a new learner, a new kitchen entrant and especially when one is down with COLD. It certainly ends up warming you and the tastebuds.!!!!! The black pepper shouldnt be powdered one from a packet but right out of a pepper mill and never mind if the greens are not there, just pepper itself can be a wonderful flavour.


vkn said...

I can feel the smell and flavor of it SF by reading the ingredients that go inside it. Wow! brilliant.

Btw, I didnt know that you are writing here; also thank you for linking me from here. Technorati helped me finding your blog today :-) Cheers my friend.

Sukanya M said...

Thanks VKN. feels great to read that U (of my dhaba fame) actually finds this recipe brilliant!! :-)