Wednesday, December 06, 2006
There's nothing special about this banana pepper - other than the fact that I grew it from a seed, all by myself and unaided. Normally this would not be much to boast about, but coming from someone who has consistently serial-killed various types of flowers and plants all through summer (and all through life, to be frank) it is an achievement of quite large proportions. Quite large = Enormous. Colossal. Monumental. Humongous. Gargantuan. In fact, Brobdingnagian. That's how big.
Alas, the pepper had to come off the plant eventually, but it ripened from a fresh greeny-yellow to this glorious orange before I finally gave in and removed it. No more peppers until next summer... that is, if I dont manage to kill the plant itself over the winter! In which case, definitely no more Shammi-grown peppers. How I envy those for whom plants flourish!
Anyway, one pepper wasnt enough to make anything substantial, so I just added it to the potato podimas that I made. Which brings me to the recipe I should have been writing about from the start instead of waxing eloquent about a banana pepper.
Podimas (mashed or scrambled describes this word most closely, although it certainly isn’t an exact translation) is a low-fat recipe using the ubiquitous well-loved potato. It is a simple, gravy-less dish that doesn’t require much oil. When my sister made potato podimas to take to her friend’s place for Thanksgiving dinner, she described it to them as “Indian-style mashed potatoes” – which is as good a description as any, I guess, although this avatar doesn’t use butter or cheese and isn’t mashed to fluffy smoothness…
Podimas is, in my opinion, best eaten fresh and hot with the tangy flavour of lime juice as a top note. Some people add chopped ginger too, although I haven’t - I don’t like biting into ginger, although it’s integral to gravies, grated or ground to a paste).
Podimas can be re-heated in the microwave or on the stove, but I like to serve it as soon as possible after it’s made. Just a personal quirk, really.
Recipe for: Potato podimas
4 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed roughly (don’t make it smooth)
2-4 fresh green chillies, chopped into ½ cm chunks or sliced thin (as per taste)
1 banana pepper, sliced into thin circles (optional)
1 tsp urad dal
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida powder (optional)
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (optional)
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
1. Boil (or pressure cook) the potatoes till done and peel when cool enough to handle.
Mash roughly into small lumps, making sure there aren’t any large lumps lurking anywhere.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the dals, seeds, powders and green chillies, cover and let the mustard seeds pop.
Add the banana peppers now if using, and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
3. When the dals are pale golden (should be about the time the seeds are done popping), add the mashed potatoes and salt to taste.
4. Mix well and heat the potatoes through.
5. Just before serving, sprinkle over the lime juice.
Add the coriander as garnish.
Goes well with chapaties.
Posted by Shammi at 12:16 pm