Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Aloo podimas

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.


Krithika said...

Serial-killed various types of flowers ... so funny ! I love aloo podimas ... with rasam :-)My recipe is the same except when I have guests I add cashewnuts.

Radha said...

Heh - when I made the podimass to take to Nancy's for Thanksgiving dinner, I mashed the potatoes fully, so they were fluffy and smooth. I wrote out a quick recipe for Nancy, but I think I'll also send a link to this entry to her :)

Anonymous said...

That is a good looking pepper. 'Potato podimas'is new to me. What an easy recipe. I have this big question about pepper plants- how long do they live? I have a feeling I should have planted mine in pots and brought them indoors for the winter. Too late now but could use the info for next year.

Anonymous said...

Gini - I'm going to bring my pepper plant inside, if it's not too late already. I've NO idea how long they live - I'm an amateur plant grower! :) I hope someone who reads this and has an intelligent answer will reply to your question!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting the recipe up! And the pictures are a big help. The version Radi made for Thanksgiving was wonderful; we all raved over it. Nancy

Mika said...

Podimas is a comfort food for me with rasam of course. But don't get to make it much since hubby likes potato roast curry just like so many others :-)

Inji Pennu said...

What if it is only one chili? You grew it and thats all it matters! Great going! Next time you can make a harvest.

Yeah, chili plants have a long life and if you can bring them in, please do bring them in. But when you bring plants inside, make sure you dont overwater them. But you need good sunshine for them to produce, so keep near a very very sunny window..

Anonymous said...

The podimas I am familiar with uses onion too. Guess you could use thinly sliced onions in place of the pepper in your recipe...

PranisKitchen said...

First time to your blog..
Nice presentation..My podimas recipe is little different ...have to try urs too...Anyway thanks for the recipe

Anonymous said...

Haha! According to my husband nothing living other than myself and him can survive in our house. At least you limited yourself to killing plants, I've managed to kill a bird, quite by accident. Podimas recipe is awesome tho!