While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.
Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?
I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.
By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.
Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions, Home Style
250 g potatoes
3 large onions, peeled and chopped finely
1 Tblspn ghee
0.5 tspn cumin seed
0.25 tspn coriander powder
1 green chilli, chopped
2 large tomatoes, pureed
pinch turmeric powder
0.25 tspn chilli powder
sea salt to taste
0.25 tspn garam masala
1 Tblspn fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
Cook the potatoes by simmering them in some slightly salted water until just tender (just a slight bit underdone is Ok), peel them and cut into 3 or 4 cm cubes.
Heat the oil in a kadhai or large frying pan. Add cumin, coriander, green chilli and onion and saute until the onions are just beginning to brown.
Add the tomato puree to the onion mixture, with some salt, the turmeric and chilli powder. Cook, stirring continuously, for 3 – 4 minutes. Then add the potatoes and 1/4 cup water to the mixture, mix well and cook, covered, on low heat for 5 or so minutes. Stir periodically. The potatoes should be cooked and tender at this point.
Add the garam masala to the potatoes, and remove from the heat. Place on a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with Indian breads.