Monday, June 06, 2005

Aloo-matar - aur bahut saare matar (aur saag bhi)

For non-Hindi-speaking readers, the title only means "potatoes & peas - and lots of peas (and spinach too)". The Hindi bit is part of an old slogan that I remember from TV advertisements in India... being as I love peas, the ad line stuck in my mind. Because that's how I love my aloo-matar - with bahut saare matar! The spinach was my addition, though.

I sing the ad jingle every time I make this dish, weird as that may seem. Just one of those things it is, as Yoda would very likely say. Or possibly, the workings of the mind strange are. And the advertisement industry sometimes very effective is.

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Anyhoo, this is a fairly simple dish to make. I used the microwave to cook the potatoes while the onions browned on the hob, so it was really only a question of assembling the ingredients at the end. I like this stuffed in pita bread, eaten with chapatis or naans, even as a sandwich filling - and Pete prefers it over basmati rice. But then he's not much of a fan of chapatis or parathas.

Aloo-matar-saag bhaji


10-15 baby potatoes, quartered (or 2 medium potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1 bunch saag or palak (spinach), chopped into strips (about 3 cupfuls)
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas, cooked
1 tsp finely chopped fresh green chillies (optional or to taste)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger root, grated
1/2 tsp garam masala or pav bhaji masala (optional)
1-2 green cardamom pods
2 tbsp oil or butter
Salt to taste
1/2 cup hot water
2 generous tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped


1. Cook the potatoes with 1/4 cup water, covered, in the microwave for about 8 minutes. Then rinse in cold water, drain and keep aside.

2. In a karahi or wok, heat the oil or butter. Add the grated ginger, green chillies, cardamom pods and cumin seeds and fry for 15-20 seconds.

3. Add the sliced onions, the red chilli powder (if using), coriander powder and cinnamon and mix well. Cook the onions till they begin to turn brown.

4. Now add the spinach leaves and a tbsp of the coriander leaves. Mix well. Cover the karahi or wok and turn the heat down low. Let the spinach cook for about 5 minutes, till it's wilted.

5. Add a half cup of water along with the potatoes and peas. Mash a few of the potatoes so that it helps make a thickish gravy.

6. Add salt to taste. Mix again, making sure the onions and spinach cover the potatoes evenly.

7. Sprinkle the garam masala or pav bhaji masala powder over, cover the karahi or wok and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. Before serving, garnish with the remaining coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice, chapatis, parathas... or just add a dollop of Greek yoghurt over a serving and eat as a snack.


Radha said...

Yes!!! Something else for me to try :) I did tell you that the paneer recipe turned out YUMMY, didn't I?

Radha said...

Shyam, here's a very useful site I came across - it has translations from English to various Indian languages, of commonly-used ingredients and vegetables...

Here it is (

Anonymous said...

Yummy pic...its lunch time here and boy, am I hungry or what?

Nikhil said...

Hi, do you peel the potatoes?


Shammi said...

Hi Nikhil, yes you can peel the potatoes if you like. Hope it comes out allright.