Potato and Bean Tacos

It does not get simpler than this

When we get really hungry but are really tired to cook, I bring out my Mexican toolkit. Mexican food is so simple to put together. No hassles with serving or plating up, especially when serving tacos. This DIY meal makes it fun for the whole family to get involved. 

Recently I made some rather indulgent tacos with crispy smoked paprika potatoes and refried beans. Yes, we are a potato loving family that isn’t afraid to eat all the potatoes and look like potatoes.  Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to take step by step photos because we were really hungry and there was a war to get stuck into crispy potatoes.

Ingredients: 16  Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One packet of soft tortillas 
  • Six to eight medium potatoes, peeled and cut in small cubes
  • 400 gms of refried beans 
  • Two medium tomatoes, chopped
  • One onion, chopped
  • 400 gms of corn, steamed
  • One bunch of coriander, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One packet of taco seasoning
  • Two teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoon of dried mint leaves
  • Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season 
  • Sour cream for topping 
  • 200 gms grated Parmesan 
  • Lemon wedges for garnish 

Heat three tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add dried mint and smoked paprika. Once aromatic add the potatoes. Cook until potatoes are soft and crispy. Garnish with fresh coriander and parmesan.

I used canned refried beans for this dish.  You can also used cooked kidney beans as an alternative, simply mash them. Empty the beans in a bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of taco seasoning. Microwave for three to four minutes. Keep aside.

Mix the chopped onion, tomato and coriander leaves. Add one teaspoon of taco seasoning. Two tablespoons of lemon juice. Your salsa is ready.

In another bowl mix corn, remaining coriander, lemon juice and taco seasoning. Your corn salsa is ready too.

Finally microwave your tacos to heat them through. To assemble the tacos, put a layer of beans, followed by potatoes. Add tomato and onion and corn salsa. A dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of lemon. A midweek meal does not get simpler than this.

 

An Indian affair

An Indian Sunday Lunch, A Feast To Tantalise All Your Senses…

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Here I am again with my most favourite cuisine in the world, Indian! The colours, the flavours, the textures and the variety Indian food offers is par excellence. A balanced Indian meal will usually include a lentil dish, a vegetable side dish, whole-wheat roti breads, a yogurt preparation and other accompaniments such as pickles, chutneys and pappadums. Most Indian mothers and wives religiously prepare this feast for their families day in and day out. So now you know why we Indians proudly wear our pot bellies, they are a sign of all the love, warmth and lip smackingly delicious food we receive from our family.

My feast today albeit a simple one packs in oodles of flavour and is a perfect idea for an indulgent Sunday family lunch. In fact what looks like a feast actually stemmed from my sheer lack of wanting to cook lunch one Sunday afternoon. Remember the Curried Carrot Soup I had recently made?  As always  I made too much of it and had to freeze most of it. I know you are wondering why am I talking about the soup? Well it’s the soup that transformed into this finger licking good lentil curry aka dal. I served the dal alongside cumin and coriander crispy potatoes known as aloo fry, basmati rice and a kachumber salad. Bonus for you, you get four recipes in one hit!

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I would recommend making the Curried Carrot Soup midweek for dinner one night, make enough to have leftovers that will enable you to make the dal and all its accompaniments for your Sunday feast. The soup recipe can be found here.  

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Ingredients: 25  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

For the dal
  • Approximately 750 ml of leftover curried carrot soup
  • 250 gms of yellow split lentils (Channa Dal)
  • One teaspoon of dried mint leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • Four to five green chillies, finely chopped
  • Two to three pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One tablespoon ghee 
  • One cup of water
  • Salt to taste
For the aloo fry
  • Six to eight medium potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons of coriander powder
  • Three tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
For the kachumber salad
  • One to two cucumbers depending on their size, cut in small cubes
  • Two tomatoes, cut in small cubes
  • One red onion, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • One teaspoon chaat masala
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Pinch of sugar
For the garnish
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • Half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • Toasted black sesame seeds (optional)

Begin by washing the lentils a few times under running water or until the water runs clear. In a pressure cooker add the leftover soup, lentils, one cup of water and season with salt as per taste. Cook the lentils for 20 to 25 minutes on a low heat or until soft. If you are not using a pressure cooker, soak the lentils for an hour prior to cooking, this will help them cook faster when using a saucepan. 

Once the lentils are cooked keep them aside and prepare the spice mix for tempering or as known in Hindi, the tadka. Tadka is what gives a lentil curry its flavour boost, it’s usually added at the start or end of a curry depending on this type of dish it is. For the tadka heat ghee in a skillet. Add cumin seeds, garlic, dried mint leaves and green chillies.  Once the cumin seeds begin to crackle and the tadka gets aromatic, add it to the dal and cover the pressure cooker or saucepan with a lid to capture those beautiful aromas.

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To make the potatoes, heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add cumin and coriander powder, followed by the chopped potatoes. Toss the potatoes to coat them with the spices, add more cumin and coriander powder if required. Cook the potatoes on a medium heat, tossing them intermittently to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom.

Once the potatoes are cooked, to crisp them up further you can transfer them on a baking tray and put them in the oven for seven to ten minutes at a 150 degrees celsius.

Finally season with salt as desired and toss the potatoes again to ensure the salt is evenly distributed.

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To make the kachumber salad, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl. If you don’t have chaat masala, you can use cumin powder as a replacement. Toss all the ingredients and serve this salad chilled, it’s a refreshing treat and compliments the meal perfectly.

Lastly, to make the garnish for the dal. Heat ghee in a skillet, add the sliced onion and cook on a low to medium heat until caramelised. One tip to know the onions are caramelised, caramelised onions are dark brown in colour and have a sweet flavour, if you cook it past this point they become charred and taste bitter. 

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Finally, garnish the dal with caramelised onions, fresh coriander and toasted black sesame seeds and garnish the potatoes with fresh coriander. 

I recommend serving the dal, potatoes and kachumber with aromatic steamed basmati rice. You can also serve it with rotis if you are not a fan of rice. Either way the only way to enjoy this feast is with your family, using your hands to dig into the warmth, love and comfort of this meal.

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Cauliflower with Potatoes and Peas

Because sometimes simple things are the best…

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Indian cuisine is without a doubt my favourite cuisine in the world.  Complexity of flavours, assortment of textures, vibrancy of colours, are all things that make Indian cuisine one to reckon with.

Unfortunately the Indian restaurant scene hasn’t done complete justice to the way Indian food is actually served in Indian homes. Indian food doesn’t need to be complicated, it doesn’t need to covered in spices. Indian home cooking is all about love on a plate, it isn’t fancy, it’s comforting. 

Today’s recipe is exactly that – it’s not fancy neither is it complicated. It’s a dish made from everyday vegetables found in your fridge, it’s a dish that uses a staple spice of Indian cooking – Cumin, it’s a dish that uses the classic base flavour of Indian cooking – onion and tomato paste.  All you gorgeous LSD readers that love Indian food, come try it in its true essence. 

Ingredients: 10   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One medium-sized cauliflower, cut into florets
  • One cup of peas (I used frozen peas)
  • Two medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • One brown onion, chopped
  • Two tomatoes, chopped
  • Two to three green chillies, chopped
  • Two teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • 1.5 tablespoons of ghee or butter

Melt ghee/butter in a pot. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter, now add the onions and cook them until translucent.

Add the tomatoes, green chillies and turmeric powder. Cook until the tomatoes are tender.

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Once the tomatoes are tender, add the potatoes and half a cup of water. Cover the pot with a lid and let the potatoes cook on a medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the peas once the potatoes are cooked, give the dish a good stir and let it cook on a medium heat for another five to seven minutes.

Finally add the cauliflower, season with salt and cook until the cauliflower is al dente.

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Serve this classic marriage of flavours with warm flaky namkeen parathas, the recipe can be found here. Alternatively you can serve it as a side dish with dal and rice, find a classic Indian dal recipe here.

Tamatar waale Jeera Aloo (Tomato glazed Cumin Potatoes)

Sometimes all you need is a little bit of potato…

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If there is one recipe that is a family favourite it is this one! Every time we have a get together my mother makes sure this recipe is there to grace the occasion and every time I see my mother in law this is her top request among things to eat. My husband loves jeera aloo so much that he could simply devour a bowl on its own and can eat them for days on end without any complaints.

As it is a dry dish it goes really well with Arhar ki Dal (the recipe for it can be found here) or other lentils and gravies too. When you serve it with a gravy item this dish makes a complete meal, after all the staples of any Indian meal are a curry, a dry side dish, roti breads, rice and other accompaniments such as raitas, pickles, papadums.

I can’t stress enough on how quick this dish is to make and it is so comforting, its like a warm hug on a rough day! So the next time you are wondering what to do with those potatoes in your pantry, try jeera aloo and I can most certainly guarantee it won’t disappoint.

 

Ingredients:  6  Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Five to six potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • Two tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Two teaspoons cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • Three tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Cut the boiled potatoes into cubes and keep aside.

In a pan heat oil and add cumin seeds, let them sizzle for about two minutes or until you smell their aroma.

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Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook them for about five to seven minutes. Once the oil starts to leave the sides of the mixture, add chopped coriander and give it all a good stir.

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Add the potatoes to the tomato mix and stir them to coat the potatoes evenly with the tangy tomato goodness. Season with salt as required and let the potatoes cook for about 10 minutes until slightly crispy.

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If your mouth is already watering just by reading the recipe and seeing the photos, I suggest you get moving and make this simple, no fuss dish for dinner tonight. Take my word it will become your family favourite too.

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