I had intended to start the year with some fresh, light and soothing recipes, given the abuse I subjected my digestion to over the festive period. I had the bright idea of making a kitchari, which was delicious and soothing. So delicious and soothing, in fact, that I made myself sick on it (thanks for nothing, split chickpeas.) I ate it for 2 days straight, for each meal. Who knew that overconsuming FODMAPS could be a bad idea for me? The silver lining, however? I stumbled on the idea of spiced ghee roasted potatoes.
These ghee roasted potatoes are an effort to combining the soothing effect of spiced ghee with the soothing effect of potatoes. Since my run in with legumes, I’ve been stemming the damage by eating a lot of plain, comforting food. Aka, a lot of potatoes. For me personally, they’re the one thing I know will perk up my appalling energy levels (I’m always exhausted after a food mishap) without giving me further grief. I find grains quite irritating (even rice) so potatoes are my Lord and Saviour. Look, I even capitalised it.
SPICY GHEE ROASTED POTATOES
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the humble roast potato these past couple of weeks. In addition, as I mentioned before, I’ve been doing a lot of eating roast potatoes. This has worked rather well for me, given that I can’t imagine eating anything much more exciting right now.
I’ve deduced that the ideal potato for a roastie is a ‘all rounder potato.’ These potatoes are not on the starchy end of the spectrum. They possess the firmness of a waxy potato that allows for par boiling and shape holding, but also the fluffiness of a cooked starchy potato. In case the words ‘starchy’ and ‘waxy’ have made you horribly confused, this website here has come up with the most succinct explanation of the differences I have come across so far:
‘Waxy potatoes have a high water content and are low in starch, which means that when cooked they have a dense, smooth texture and retain their shape. At the other end of the spectrum floury potatoes are low in water and high in starch, so when cooked they have a dry, delicate, fluffy texture, and break up easily, readily absorbing liquid and flavours. In between waxy and floury on the potato continuum are the all-rounders: general purpose potatoes with moderate starch and water contents, neither very floury nor very waxy.’
In Australia, our supermarkets are pretty average at stocking the more niche varieties of potato. However, Desiree potatoes (the ones with the red skin and white flesh) are easily acquired, and suit this purpose very well. Other varieties I like are Sebago, Yukon Gold (which is more on the waxy end) or even a Nadine, which is generally the white brushed potato at the supermarket.
WHY SPICY GHEE?
As I mentioned, this is almost a kitchari potato hybrid recipe. Ghee is soothing on the digestive system and contains virtually no lactose. It is much used in ayurvedic cooking. This link here has a quick explanation and recipe for homemade ghee.
The spices I have used are those common in kitchari preparation, with the exception of garam masala, because I couldn’t help myself. If you want to go rogue and add some (insert spice here) go for it. I wanted to keep my version simple, because of the digestive distress I am currently suffering. Woe is me etc etc.
If you are vegan, you can absolutely use vegetable oil or your preferred oil in place of ghee. That is the only alteration you would need to make.
BANANA TAMARIND CHUTNEY
When I go out to eat Indian food, the condiments are basically my favourite part of the meal. They often add a delightful sweet hit to an otherwise savoury dish, and that sweetness feels cooling compared to the heat of the spice. So, to accompany the spicy ghee roasted potatoes, I’ve included this banana, tamarind and lime chutney.
The chutney is a delicious, refreshing and tangy addition to potatoes, and super easy to make. In terms of bananas, unripe bananas are lower in fructose than their ripe counterparts. This is convenient, because I really this this chutney benefits from the firmness and texture of a just ripe banana. The recipe for the chutney is linked right here.
SPICY GHEE ROASTED POTATOES WITH LIME SPICED GREENS, BANANA, TAMARIND AND LIME CHUTNEY AND COCONUT YOGHURT
FOR THE POTATOES:
- 800 g all rounder potatoes such as Maris Piper or Desiree
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- generous freshly cracked black pepper
- sprinkle of chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornflour
- Ghee or vegetable oil
- Fine salt to finish the potatoes
- Juice of 1-2 limes
- Vegetables of choice I used broccolini or broccoli and spinach
- Banana tamarind and lime chutney
- Plain coconut yoghurt keep it inulin free for FODMAP friendly efficiency
TO MAKE THE POTATOES:
- Clean your potatoes, and prick them numerous times with a fork. This allows the salt water to permeate the potato and flavour it nicely.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot of water that is the salinity of the ocean (aka salty) and cook over a high heat for 20-30 minutes. This will depend on their size so use your intuition, but you want them to be completely cooked through. 20-30 minutes is for a large potato.
- Drain the potatoes and allow them to dry.
- If you’re ready to make the potatoes, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients for the potatoes. Once the potatoes themselves are cooled, chop them roughly, and place them into the spice mixture. Toss them to coat, and don’t be too scared of breaking a few potatoes. Scraggly potato ends = super crispy potato ends.
- Place a few tablespoons of ghee or vegetable oil on a baking tray – enough to just coat the bottom. Place the ghee or oil into the oven to heat for 5-10 minutes. Both have a reasonably high smoke point, so there shouldn’t be a risk of burning.
- Once the oil is hot and the potatoes are coated in spices, use tongs to lower them into the hot oil. Keep all the remaining spices at the bottom of the dish – you will use them to cook the greens in.
- Turn each potato quickly to baste it in ghee or oil, and then spread them out. I used two trays for this quantity of potatoes. Packing the potatoes tightly onto one tray is a surefire way to end up with soggy potatoes.
- Once the potatoes are all basted, set the timer for 20 minutes.
- 10. After 20 minutes, turn the potatoes, and cook for an additional 20-40 minutes. This depends on how much time you have, and how crunchy you want your potatoes to be.
TO MAKE THE GREENS:
- If you’re making the greens, par boil the broccoli or broccolini until it is still green and crunchy but partly cooked through.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan over a medium high heat. Add some ghee or oil and the spices, and cook until aromatic. You can add some extra ginger if you like. Once the mixture is sizzling and popping, add the juice of a lime and stir to combine. Add the vegetables, and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until they’re hot and coated in the spices. Season well with salt and pepper.
- You can layer the dish any way you like. It tastes equally good separated into different components as it does served as a large dish. Incidentally, it would make a good picnic salad, provided you ensure the potatoes don’t get left in the sun too long. Serve with dollops of coconut yoghurt and banana tamarind chutney, generous seasoning and some coriander or chilli.