October 18, 2006
Diwali or Deepavali, the Indian festival of lights and loud sounds, is on Saturday 21st October.
I have mixed memories of Diwali from my childhood in India. Mostly, I hid under the bed in the quietest room in the house with our dog Gina – lovingly named after the eponymous character from the sitcom Dynasty by my mother.
I crawled out in time for dinner and to collect the traditional cash donation from my dad after he’d done the Ganesh Lakshmi puja for health, wealth and prosperity.
The food was the real saving grace of the evening for my petrified self. The evening Diwali meal at our place was strictly vegetarian – a veritable feast of golden fried pooris, masala aloo and paneer with a wide selection of sweets to finish.
Sadly, I’ve never quite managed to create a similar Diwali feast in London. But I do make the masala aloo from time to time.
Here’s the recipe to serve 2-3:
6 medium potatoes, halved
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
Half tsp chilli powder
Half tsp turmeric powder
Quarter tsp asafoetida powder
1 tsp whole jeera
2 tbsp yoghurt
2 tbsp sunflower (or other flavourless) oil
Heat the oil on a high flame, and when hot add the asafoetida powder. Then add, in order, coriander, cummin, chilli and turmeric powders.
Let the spices bubble up in the pot for a minute and then add the potatoes. Give them a good stir, mixing the masalas in and then add the whole cummin.
Fry the potatoes for a minute or two until they start browning, and then add the yoghurt. Mix it into the potatoes and then lower the flame to medium, cover and cook until the potatoes are done.
Add salt to taste. These are great as a side dish or on their own as moreish nibbles.