Saturday, June 21, 2014

Spiced Potatoes with Sautéed Kale and Peas

Spiced Potatoes with Kale and Peas packed into square pyrex dishes
Packed Lunch of Spiced Potatoes and Sautéed Kale with English Peas 

I am a creature of habit. Every Friday, after I am off the clock, I go around the grocery store where I work and complete my food shop for the next week. Over the week, mostly on Sundays, I make and pack my meals. So I will make 5 packed lunches for work. I will make 2 servings smoothies for breakfast and set up dinner if I have the energy. This past weekend, I had the idea of making a sweet potato/yam dish for lunch. Sweet potato is something that I have an affinity for. My sister and I believe that it runs in the blood because our father's ancestral home, Oyan in Nigeria, is known for sweet potatoes.

During my service year in Nigeria, one of the meals that I really loved making was sweet potatoes with vegetables. I would buy a vegetable known as ugu and make it into a soup with smoked fish, tomatoes, peppers and onions to be served with boiled sweet potatoes. I particularly like this meal because the green leaves of ugu would be slightly crunchy after cooking so it would balance the soft and mushy texture of the sweet potatoes. When I was shopping on Friday, I noticed that the sweet potatoes/yam did not look like it was in season so I decided to switch it up for red potatoes.

The thing is I am not really a fan of boiled red/russet/yellow potatoes. It reminds me of the boiled yellow potatoes I grew up eating in Lagos. I figured that I could boil the potatoes and spice it up. Now that I have started on this path of cooking Indian recipes at home, I find that I am more interested in the way that spices can change food. So just like that I went from trying to recreate a Nigerian meal to creating an Indian inspired meal. I have to say that when I was done making the potatoes though it reminded me of eating asaro or yam pottage, a Yoruba/Nigerian dish. It all came back full circle.

Kale, Potatoes, English Peas, Serrano Chili Pepper and Ginger
Kale, Potatoes, English Peas, Serrano Chili Pepper and Ginger

Spiced Potatoes 

Ingredients (serves 4)
3lbs of Red Potatoes
1Tsp of Coriander Seeds
2 Serrano Chili Peppers chopped
3 Large Cloves of Garlic chopped
1Tbsp of Grated Fresh Tumeric
3 Cloves
3Tbsp of Grated Fresh Ginger
2Tbsp of Coconut Oil
1/2Cup of Coconut Milk

1. Peel and cut the red potatoes into small pieces that are roughly of the same size. Boil the cubes of potato in a liberally salted water until it is just done. You don't want to over-cook the potatoes since it will still be cooked a second time. Drain the cubes from the hot water.

Coriander Seeds, Ginger, Cloves, Serrano Chili Pepper, Garlic Cloves and Tumeric on a white plate
Coriander Seeds, Ginger, Cloves, Serrano Chili Pepper, Garlic Cloves and Tumeric

2. In a large pan, heat up the coconut oil on medium heat. Add in the coriander seeds and the cloves when the oil is fully heated and liquid.

3. When the coriander seed gets fragrant and brown, add in the pepper,ginger, garlic and tumeric. Stir the mix and sauté for a couple of minutes until the garlic gets fragrant.

4. Pour in the coconut milk, season with salt and stir. When the coconut milk is bubbling slightly, add in the cooked potatoes. Turn up the heat and keep stirring the mix carefully. The starch in the cooked potato should thicken up the mixture quickly. You want to ensure that the coconut sauce coats the potatoes evenly. 

5. Serve.

Sautéed Kale and Fresh Peas

Finely shredded kale in a pyrex bowl.
Finely Shredded Kale

Ingredients seves 4
1lb of Lacinato Kale
1Cup of Freshly Shelled English Peas
1Tbsp of Sesame Oil
1Tbsp of Red Pepper Flake 

1. Carefully rinse the kale and shred it finely. 

2. In a pan or wok, heat up the sesame oil to smoking point. Add in the red pepper flakes. Immediately add in the kale and the fresh peas.

3. Cook until the kale is completely wilted and the peas are bright green.


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