Sunday, 21 October 2012

Aloo Chat

From my mother's recipe book, in her italic hand

* 5 large potatoes cut in quarters - boil in salted water until still too firm for potato salad. Drain. Cool and then peel. Cut into bite sized pie
* 2 green peppers cut into 1 cm cubes.
* 2 large onions cut into 1 cm cubes.
* 4 tablespoons olive oil.
* 1 tin chopped tomatoes.
* 2 dessert spoons curry powder.
* 2 dessert spoons garam masala.
* Salt.
* Pepper.

Fry peppers and onion in two spoons olive oil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add curry powder and garam masala.

Stir until veg are evenly coated.

Fry gently for a couple of minutes.

Add rest of olive oil, potatoes and tin of tomatoes.

Simmer gently, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed.

Season to taste. Serve hot, warm or cold. (Don't stir too vigorously - keep the potato pieces intact.)

Now for the commentary. This is not a recipe I remember from childhood, but something from much later - perhaps even my early twenties. I think that Mum discovered it in our local Indian restaurant, the Viceroy, and attempted to recreate it at home. It is superb picnic food and it became traditional to take it in the car for the drive across France: each of us would have one of those sandwich bags full of the stuff and a fork. It was christened something other than aloo chat but I will not repeat it here because it might discourage the reader from attempting it.

Something to eat which, as the recipe says, is good whether hot, warm or cold. Although, as my mother would say, "it's even better cold ". Is there a name for such dishes?

I am, incidentally, assured by my friend, Nina Ali, that this is an utterly inauthentic recipe.

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