I love miniature potatoes - especially pan-roasted. They were not always available at the local market when we were kids, so it was good fun when they were being sold. I would help pick out the roundest, smoothest potatoes, trying to keep them as much of a size as possible. Once they were washed and scrubbed of all dirt, my mother would roast them in a big wok with the skins on. As far as I was concerned, the skins were very nearly the best part of the potatoes - slightly crisp, spicy and sort of tight, resisting being bitten into for just a fraction of a second before giving way.
Cooking baby potatoes this way means that the usual tempering of mustard seeds and urad dal would not "stick" but just rattle around at the bottom of the wok, getting burnt - so I evolved my own tempering powder. This time I was a bit lazy (and short of time) so I used the molagapodi I'd made earlier, but usually I make the tempering powder separately. It's worth it.
Recipe for: Pan-roasted baby potatoes
1/2 kilo baby potatoes, skin on
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
For the tempering powder:
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 red dry red chillies (optional)
1 tsp gram flour
1 tsp rice flour
1. Roast all the tempering ingredients (other than the gram flour and rice flour) until the chana and urad dals are a light golden brown. Set aside to cool.
2. When cool, grind them all to a powder that is the texture of coarse sand. Mix with the gram flour and rice flour.
3. In a wide pan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the potatoes and stir to coat. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes on low, or until the potatoes are just done.
4. Take off the lid, sprinkle on the prepared tempering powder and salt to taste, and mix well. Turn up the heat to medium-high and pour over the remaining tbsp of oil.
5. Let the potatoes roast, stirring occasionally to ensure they crisp evenly and dont burn.
6. Serve hot as a side with rice and any sambar/kuzhambu.