Mashed Potato Masala (Vegan)

With the holiday season upon us, who doesn’t indulge in some comfort food goodness occasionally…and by that I mean all the time. Anytime I think of comfort food, potatoes are on the top of my  carb list! It is ‘the’ quintessential comfort food ingredient for me. Growing up, this was a sunday special, or a special holiday treat.

This recipe is all about that dark toasted cumin seeds along with a particular combination of spices that are earthy, tangy, spicy, and fragrant. Also key is to slightly mash the boiled potatoes that make the dish creamy and stick to your ribs good, but also with a bite of chunky yet tender potatoes. Crispy onions add more flavor, and tangy tomatoes round it all up.

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Oh and did I mention, with the right ingredients, they’re not at all complicated to make. It takes under 30 minutes, basically the time it takes to boil potatoes. Try it this season, and it will be your go to everytime! Happy delicious holidays everyone!

Ingredients:
serves 4-6
4 large Russet potatoes (or 6-8 Yukon Gold potatoes that tend to be smaller)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp amchur (dry mango) powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder (use a scale of 1tsp to 1tbsp depending on your preference)
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped

I use russet potatoes, a waxy kind that have a smoother texture that hold their shape well even when cooked. You could also yukon gold that are more all purpose.

Method:
Scrub potatoes clean and add them to a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover potatoes completely. Season with 1/2 tsp salt per potato, so about 2 tsps in this recipe. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook at a brisk simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the potatoes are boiling, let’s get the masala started.

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Heat a large non stick pan/skillet over medium heat with a 1/4 cup of cooking oil. After 15 seconds of preheating, add cumin seeds. They’ll start spluttering and frying after a few seconds. It is important to fry them to a darker brown, but not burnt, so definitely spend the 3-5 seconds after they hit the oil, watching them over.

Add chopped garlic and onion. Saute until the onions are translucent and just start turning golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the measured spices: cumin, coriander, amchur, turmeric, red chilli and garam masala powders.

Mix thoroughly and continue sauteing for 6-8 minutes until the spices are toasted and the onions are crispy and really golden.

Now add in chopped tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes soften and create a sauce. Add half of the chopped cilantro and mix.

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Back to the potatoes:
Test if potatoes are done by using a small knife to pierce them, and they should be firm yet soft and easily pierced. Drain completely. Then submerge them back in really cold water. This stops the cooking, and makes it easy to peel. Peel the potatoes and set aside.

Using your hands (careful, potatoes may still be hot) crumble the boiled potatoes directly into the tomato/onion/spice mixture. Do not crush them too finely, we want to leave them chunky with bite size pieces.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, and mix everything together thoroughly, and gently. Reduce the heat to low and let them cook for another 10 minutes. This step is optional, but it helps the flavors blend together and absorb into the potatoes. Serve hot topped with the reserved fresh cilantro.

This recipe is perfect to make ahead. It tastes even better the next day!

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