01 December 2016

Hungry Expat's "Indianized" Best Baked Potato

Growing up, baked potatoes were my go-to meal because they were quick and easy and required pretty much zero level of skill to make. An American baked potato, while filling, comprises of very little and is easily cooked:
                                                potato                            butter
                                                sour cream                   cheddar cheese
                                                salt                                  ground black pepper

It was also common to spice it up a bit with the ever popular Bac-os (for those of you uninitiated in American imitation food - that is bacon flavored "bits" made out of soy or some such) or chives. If you were really ambitious, you could also cover lightly in olive oil and dust with sea salt for a better baking result, but I rarely exerted that little bit of extra effort and opted for the quick and dirty microwave.

Indian potatoes are frequently boiled and mixed with other dry vegetables in tumeric, cumin, curry leaves, etc. Dum aloo is a popular "wet" curry with nice flavors that could be adaptable for the American palate. It includes:

                 potatoes                            yogurt                                  cloves
                 red onion                          bay leaf                                cashew nuts
                 asafoetida                         red chili powder                fenugreek leaves
                 tumeric powder              ginger garlic paste            coriander leaves (cilantro)
                 coriander seeds              cumin seeds                        sugar
                 green cardamom           cinnamon                            salt

I am much more adventurous in the kitchen compared to my teenaged self (even compared to my 20-something self), but that is so many ingredients! Since many of them are also popular in Mexican/Tex-Mex cooking as well, I decided to stick to what I know and make something of a cross-cultural creation using American, Indian, and Mexican flavors for my "Indianized" baked potato

                 (2) roma tomatoes        (1) red onion                     (5) garlic cloves
                 cilantro                             salt                                      ground black pepper
                 red chili powder             cumin seeds                      yogurt
                 butter                                cheddar cheese

I started by creating a concotion of chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, and cilantro (stems and all) mixed with a dash of red chili powder and cumin seeds to make a quasi pico de gallo type sauce. For me, the cumin seeds really brought in the Indian-y flavor (maybe because we put varying types of cumin in everything here...). 

I topped the microwaved potato (I don't have a proper oven to bake here) with melted butter, a dollop of yogurt, salt & pepper, and my "salsa". Sadly, I am out of cheese (and too lazy to venture out to the store, so it seems). So, while I highly recommend topping with a (heavy) sprinkling of cheddar, mine went without. I thought it was delightful and a nice way to spice up my recent craving for a regular, boring baked potato. However, my authentic Indian taste tester, Curry Delight, is traveling to the exotic reaches of Finland at the moment, so we'll have to wait until next time for his opinion. The final product:
What makes a dish taste "Indian" to you? What are your suggestions for my next "Indianized" dish?

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