Kumy’s Hindu Aloo (Potatoes)

This is a wonderful, tangy, spicy golden potato dish with fresh cilantro and jalapenos. Really quick and amazingly good – one of Kumy’s specialties.

Kumy’s auntie, Shirin Auntie was an especially good cook, and such a lovely person. So was her husband, Chotu Uncle, and I miss them. (Story about them below.)  She taught Kumy how to make this dish.

When I asked him about the name, he said Shirin Auntie grew up in Bombay and learned this vegan dish from  a Hindu neighbor.  Aloo means potato, and anyone who has had these potatoes says they are “Kamal!”  (Amazing!)

4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cubed in 1″ cubes (we like Yukon Gold)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
fresh ginger, peeled with a spoon and sliced very thinly (about 1.5 tsp)
3/4 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 jalapeno, sliced in half, seeds removed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 lemons, juiced
4 jalapenos, held by stem, and cut twice from bottom
1 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Boil potatoes in salted water until they are soft. Drain and squeeze lemon juice over them. Heat oil in a frying pan, and add garlic, ginger and mustard seed, frying for 2 minutes. Add cumin seed, 1 sliced jalapeno, turmeric and salt and saute for just a few moments. Add the boiled potatoes and lemon juice and stir gently. You want to blend everything nicely without crushing the potatoes. Take the 4 jalapenos which have been partially cut and gently push them into the potatoes. Garnish with the cilantro. Serve with extra lemon juice.

Chotu Uncle and Shirin Auntie lived in a house with a beautiful garden – filled with beautiful plants in enormous sizes, and they loved cats and kept one as a pet, which was quite unusual. I always loved visiting them and seeing their garden.  

Later, they moved into a very nice apartment in the Royal Apartments.  One of my favorite memories was when they’d left the laundry room window open one day, and a mother bird began to build her nest just inside the window.  

They were so enchanted that they let her build the nest and raise her babies there – watching the progress with bated breathed, and tip-toeing in and out so as not to disturb them.  How could you not love someone like that?

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