This dish is perfect for the peace of Autumn and it’s fantastic light. It originates from Yotam Ottolenghi‘s book Plenty. A present, it is my one of most loved cookbooks. This man is a wizard with food, both the visual and the flavour combinations. It’s not difficult or pretentious food, simply a delight to cook and to eat.
Just for the celebration of Autumn is Two-Potato “Vindaloo”, a spicy dish of potatoes and sweet potatoes. There are some adjustments from the original recipe because by habit I use some of the spices slightly differently. Best made during a slow afternoon, it takes 2 — 2.5 hours to make. But they are not difficult hours — you could delve into your favourite book in the Autumn sun while this bubbles away on the stove-top. Oh and by the way, your house will be headily scented with the most magnificent spicy aroma.
Are you looking for Sweet Potato recipes? Why not try Creamy Baked Sweet Potato, Madras Curry of Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach, Caramelised Sweet Potato, and Sweet Potato Wedges.
Ottoleghi calls this dish a vindaloo, I guess to indicate that it is a hot, spicy dish. The word Vindaloo is used in Britain to indicate such a dish. Even then, if you want a real mind-numbingly hot vindaloo flavour, add more chilli. Although not traditional, British Vindaloo also includes potatoes, in the mistaken belief that the aloo in vindaloo means potato.
But this dish isn’t a traditional Goan style vindaloo, and only slightly approximates the spice flavours of Goa where Vindaloo originates. A traditional vindaloo is a blend of Portugese influences with regional flavours. Vindaloo also has garlic (Vindaloo originates from the words for wine (vin) and garlic (alhoo)). This recipe also has an inherent sweetness from the sweet potatoes, sugar and sweet papikra, whereas a traditional vindaloo has a sour, almost pickled flavour especially after marinating for a few days.
As mentioned, there is usually a lot of confusion about the use of the word aloo in vindaloo. As aloo means potato in Hindi, this leads quite a lot of people to believe that a traditional vindaloo has potatoes in it, which is not the case. The word vindaloo is a corruption of vindalho that refers to a dish cooked with garlic, spices and a good slug of Goan vinegar (instead of wine).
So I would be inclined to discard the Vindaloo label altogether. I love the fact too that the wonderful sweet, spiciness of the dish would also welcome a few raisins!
Some notes on the dish
Black Mustard Seeds: Pop them in hot oil before adding to a dish, otherwise they add a hot mustard taste to a dish rather than the sweet nutty Indian flavor of popped mustard seeds.
Curry Leaves: Likewise, allow the curry leaves to release their flavours into oil and add them near the end of cooking. Long cooking of curry leaves can impart a bitter taste to food.
Serve With: Sauté some raw cashews in oil or ghee and serve over or with the curry instead of the herbs. Also good with a side serve of tart yoghurt beaten with a little salt. A coconut chutney would compliment it well.
Two Potato Spicy Curry | British Vindaloo
Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4 — 6, depending on serving size
8 large or 12 small cardamom pods
1 Tblspn cumin seeds
1 Tblspn coriander seeds
0.5 tsp cloves
0.25 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tblspn vegetable oil or use coconut oil, even ghee
12 shallots (300g in total)
0.5 tspn black mustard seeds
0.5 tsp fenugreek seeds
25 curry leaves
2 Tblspn chopped root Ginger
2 fresh red chillies
3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
50 ml cider vinegar or use juice of half a lemon and 2 tspn amchur powder. (In Goa they use a toddy vinegar and the flavour is difficult to replicate.)
400 ml water
1 Tblspn jaggery or brown sugar
400g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
1 large or 2 small red peppers, cut into 2 cm dice
400g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm dice
Salt to taste
Mint or coriander leaves (cilantro) to serve
Start by making the spice paste. With a pestle or blade of a large knife, crush the cardamom pods to release the seeds. Dry roast the cardamom pods with seeds, the cumin and coriander seeds in a small sauté pan until they release a beautiful aroma and begin to pop. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and add the cloves. You can discard the cardamom pods at this point if the seeds have been released. Grind to a fine powder and add the turmeric, cinnamon and sweet paprika.
Heat most of the oil in a large heavy based pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the fenugreek seeds and after 30 seconds, add the shallots.Sauté on a medium low heat for about 8 minutes or until the shallots brown. Stir in the chilli and ginger and cook for a further 3 minutes. Now stir in the spice mix, then add the tomatoes, vinegar, water, jaggery or sugar and some salt. Leave to simmer, covered, for 20 mins.
Add the diced potatoes and red peppers and simmer for another 20 mins. Then add the sweet potatoes and simmer, covered, for another 40 mins. Make sure that the vegetables are immersed in the sauce, adding more water if necessary.
In a separate sauté pan, heat the remaining oil and add the curry leaves. Allow to sizzle for 30 secs and then pour oil and leaves into the potatoes. Stir.
Without the lid, allow to bubble away for about 10 mins to reduce and thicken the sauce. Serve hot with plain rice, some plain yoghurt beaten with a little salt, and the herbs.
A deeply satisfying dish. Even better the next day. Enjoy!
browse some of the Autumn recipes
- Baked Strawberries
- Pomegranate and Banana Salad
- Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread
- The Simplest Spaghetti