Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Taste of Kerala - Potato Mussakhan (Fried Spicy Potatoes)

So the whole blogging trip is to educate myself and increase my repertoire so that my family is not eating the same chicken dish everyday.
OK, that was an exaggeration.
We eat the same food every other day.

So I made up a little do-lally here called Taste of Kerala where I wanted to personally explore dishes from God's Own Country - other than the three dishes that I currently know of. So why Kerala? I grew up eating typical Kerala fare because my parents were born there, however I have never lived there and have only gotten to visit on several short vacations. The food I had experienced as a child was a slightly watered down version of the original, given the lack of authentic ingredients and the gradual adaptations to the recipes that my parents would make.

The picture above was taken last year when we went on a houseboat tour down the backwaters of Kumarakom, Kerala - a recent tourist draw (some may call it a trap) - which I always refuse to take part in, but end up going on and enjoying anyway.
But I digress....

I've gotten a little excited about trying my hand at other dishes from Kerala and wanted to record them here, hits or misses.

So announcing Potato Mussakhan, a dish from the Malabar region of Kerala which has a heavy Arabic/Muslim influence.
The name of the dish itself sounds very Muslim, so I asked my colleague, a Mr. Khan himself, if he knew what it meant. Other than having an uncle who was actually named Mussa Khan (!) - he couldn't quite figure it out, and then proudly announced that it must be derived from the Urdu word for "complicated" or "difficult".
So I had just made "Potato Complicated"?

Far from it.
This is a simple tangy side dish of par-boiled potatoes doused in lime juice and lightly fried with some piercing spices and fragrant ginger, garlic and shallots. This is no ordinary potato bhaji to be callously stuffed into dosas or lopped up with bread. This potato has attitude.
Potato Bada$$.

Potato Mussakhan (adapted from "Malabar Cuisine" - Rasheed, Roshna Khader, Reshmi Joseph, Salim Pushpanath)

3 medium-sized potatoes
1 Tbsp grated/crushed ginger
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
4-5 medium-sized shallots - chopped
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil (coconut or vegetable - I used vegetable)
Optional - 2 small green chillies, sliced

1.Peel and cube potatoes. Boil in water to which salt and a pinch of turmeric has been added. When slightly cooked (should not be mushy), remove from heat and drain.
2.Make a paste of red chilli powder and turmeric in lime juice, pour onto potatoes, mix to ensure potatoes are coated.
4.Heat oil in a frying pan. Add shallots, followed by ginger and garlic. Fry lightly.
5.Add curry leaves and green chillies (if using), followed by potatoes. Fry on medium heat till potato cubes get a golden crust or color. Add salt to taste if necessary.


Jaya Wagle said...

Hmm... that is such a unique way of cooking potatoes. Never heard of adding a chili turmeric paste to boiled potatoes before frying them. Very interesting. Will have to try it soon.

Varsha Vipins said...

My wishes to your new space..I am still confused as to how to spell that mussakhan..like sharukh khan..or so..:P..Lovely pic too..except for the curry powder,I guess thats almost like our yummy mezhukupuratti..:)

Cynthia said...

I make some geera potatoes last week. Now I am seeing your post and thinking of making potatoes again :)

Teanna DiMicco said...

Oh those are absolutely gorgeous! I love the flavors on those potatoes! What a great site you have here!

Anonymous said...

U have a fabulous space here!
We cal this 'orulakizhangu mezhukku puratti'gud attempt...looks perfect!


It looks gorgeous, flavorful, I would like to try it.

Sig said...

You know, I am opposed to most of the major tourist attractions everywhere too, except for the houseboats. It truly is an amazing experience, even if it is meant to be a tourist trap. :)

Anonymous said...

sounds so interesting...will have to try it...love ur post too!

Prajusha said...

this looks yummy.Interesting Name