So I’ve had this recipe nestled in my head for quite some time now.
It’s one I have depended upon in my darkest hours.
There is a cruel culinary juxtaposition that qualifies the majority of soul warming dishes to take the longest time to cook. So the times when you want to be on your food and doing the least is usually when you have to wait the longest.
I don’t know about you but when I want the succour of a curry, I want it then and there.
So when I am craving a Saag Aloo, that soul warming, life affirming Indian dish of deeply spiced potatoes and spinach, I want it as quickly as possible, with little effort in the Kitchen and maximum melting into the sofa.
And my trick is tinned potatoes.
DON’T LEAVE. STAY WITH ME. IT GETS GOOD I PROMISE.
You know when you were a kid and you were sometimes embarrassed to like something, but the moment one of the cool kids liked it, you weren’t afraid to like it anymore? In fact you were almost boastful about it?
Well in this situation my ‘something’ is tinned potatoes and my cool kid is Nadiya Hussain.
In her new book ‘Time To Eat’ she admits to using tinned potatoes in her potato salads as well as utilising them for some really speedy roast potatoes under a fish fillet.
Now Nadiya, I love you but roasties are definitely worth the effort – but I like the concept of using them to cut down on cooking time elsewhere. And for frying in a Saag Aloo when everything is just tossed around in one pan, tinned potatoes fit the bill perfectly.
They’re already cooked which means that the cooking time is completely cut down to a bare minimum and what’s more, the fact they’ve been bobbing in their can liquid for a while means they are soft, spongy and perfectly absorbent to whatever you throw at them. Perfect for a dish like this.
As I said I’ve been using tinned potatoes in curries for quite some time but keeping them on the hush. But I’m no longer a school geek liking unpopular things and praying the popular kid will like it so that I can come out of the shadows.
I use tinned potatoes in some of my recipes. THERE.
AM I COOL KID NOW?!
Heat a little flavourless oil in a wide pan and sweat but some finely chopped onions in a sprinkle of sea salt.
Fling in a garlic clove that’s been chopped up.
Finely chop up a green chilli, seeds and all, go on be daring and throw into the pan. Cook everything together until the onions start to soften.
Now grate in a thumb size piece of ginger and add a teaspoon of garam masala and a teaspoon of turmeric.
If you’re using a wooden spoon and want to avoid staining, switch to a metal or rubber spoon from here on out.
Stir the onion/garlic/chilli mix in with the spices until they’re glossy and coated.
Now open and drain a can of potatoes and cut them. Canned potatoes are already quite small and I enjoy a chunky, gutsy Saag Aloo so I only halve them but chop as you see fit.
Fling these into the pan of spices and stir until the potatoes take on the spicy gloss. Now add a few big handfuls of spinach (from a bag) and stir into the curry.
Don’t forget spinach lets off water so it will decrease – a lot – but keep going until you’ve packed the curry out to your packed up desires. Once the spinach has wilted, you’re done.
Salt and pepper everything and serve.
You could go down a rice route with this but like I said, when I crave a potato based curry I want it quick and i’’s usually when I’m craving double carbs, so I go with a big slab of naan bread.