Aloo Matar, an Indian curry featuring a mixture of potatoes and peas, is comforting, filling, and vegetarian. The recipe calls for whole spices, dry roasted in a skillet, then cooked in oil. That way, every ingredient that touches the skillet becomes infused with the fragrant mix of cinnamon, clove, and cardamom. Eat the warming curry on its own, or with a bowl of steaming rice.
- 1 large tomato, or about 3 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2-inch fresh ginger, peeled
- 1-inch piece cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 medium onion, ends trimmed, cut into thin half moons
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 3 cups frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons cream
- fresh cilantro, for garnish
In a blender, combine the tomato, garlic, and ginger. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a large cast-iron skillet set over medium heat, add the cinnamon, clove, and cardamom. Dry roast, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about one minute. Pour in the canola oil, and add in the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the onions. Stir well until the onions are evenly coated with the fragrant oil. Turn the heat to medium-high, and cook until the onions are just starting to brown, two to four minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the cubed potatoes, and cook, stirring often, for three minutes. Pour in the contents of the blender, and stir until incorporated. Then add the salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 cup of water. Stir until everything is combined, and then reduce heat to medium. Cook at a steady simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are starting to become tender, and the oil starts to separate from the sauce, about 12 minutes. You may need to turn the heat down to low to keep it from boiling.
Pour in two more cups of water and the peas. Maintain a simmer until the potatoes are completely cooked, about 10 minutes. Ad the cream and garam masala, and simmer gently for an additional two minutes. Season to taste with more salt, if necessary. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.