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Monday, January 3, 2022

Aloo Thechauni / Aloo Thechwani / Aloo Thichodi

I would like to start the first post of the year by wishing all my readers a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Let us hope the chaos going around for the past couple of years will come to a stop this year.  

I am going to post three potato based dishes this week and the first one is going to be a curry. Potato curry happens to be a popular side dish to go with breads or rice in Indian cuisine and one can find myriad versions of the same, with regional variations thrown in. Today's curry comes from the Uttarakhand region which is a locally popular one that is usually served along with rice though it can be served with rotis as well. 
Going by the list of ingredients, this pahadi subzi / curry from the Himalayan region seems to be another mundane version of potato curry that gets prepared across homes in India. The dish varies from the other curry preparations in the way how the potatoes are chopped and use of a local variety wild mustard seeds called jakhiya. I was looking for an authentic version of this curry and stumbled upon this recipe from a local girl. Usually onions are sautéed first, followed by tomatoes and then potatoes are cooked in the mixture, adding water. In her recipe, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes are sautéed in that order and water is added at the final stage. 
The interesting part here is one doesn't chop potatoes. The unpeeled potatoes are roughly pounded  into fine pieces, using a suitable tool like pestle, stone or hammer. In fact, the dish gets it name from the word 'theechna' meaning pounding in the local dialect. Potatoes can be replaced with local radish. Of course the potatoes need to be scrubbed before using and any parts that need to be discarded should be peeled. I peeled the potatoes anyway and realized while mashing that it is not that easy when you have big potatoes on hand. Use small potatoes while preparing the dish which makes it suitable for the pounding part.  

3 potatoes (about 2 cups roughly mashed potatoes)
1 - 2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. jakhiya / mustard seeds *
1 bay leaf
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp. ginger - garlic paste
1 green chili, finely chopped 
1 big sized onion, finely minced
Salt to taste
2 pinches of ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder or to taste
1 big sized tomato, finely chopped
1 cup water
1 /2 tsp. garam masala
* Locally grown wild mustard seeds used in Garhwali cuisine
* Scrub the potatoes well and peel any parts that need to be discarded. Pound or mash the potatoes roughly into small pieces using a pestle.  
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add bay leaf, asafoetida and garlic - ginger paste. Sauté for few seconds and add green chili. Stir for few seconds.
* Next add onion and sauté until onion are cooked and add pounded potatoes. Stir for about a minute. Add salt, turmeric, coriander powder and chili powder to pan and mix well. Cover and cook until potatoes soften. 
* Next add chopped tomato to teh potato pan and mix well once. Again cover and cook until tomatoes are done.
* Next add about a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Add garam masala and cook the mixture about five minutes and turn off the stove. 
* Serve warm with hot steamed rice or rotis.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.


Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

Suma, this sounds so delicious. I have never used pounded raw potatoes for any recipe before. I have always cooked it before and then made into curry. This will be so quick to make for weeknight dinners.

Radha said...

Using pounded potato sounds interesting. Potato based curries are always loved and am going to try this weekend! Delicious curry!

Srividhya said...

So many potato recipes in Indian cuisine right? A delicious potato curry for sure. I can have this with rice and roti too.

Narmadha said...

Anything with potatoes is always a hit. This one looks so different from others. Perfect side dish for roti. Love your entire thali