Aloo Matar is one of those classic North Indian dishes that has a special place in every Indian's heart and home. A potato and pea saute, it comes in various shapes, sizes and guises, with every family having its very own recipe. I love this dish as it's a kitchen-ready winner: I can just grab a sack of new potatoes on my way home. My "as you like it" version of Aloo Matar gives you a chance to experiment and create your own. And if you can't ever seem to follow a recipe to the T, then you and this Aloo Matar are Made For Each Other. Here's a few ideas, to get your creative juices going: 1. No asafoetida, no problem. Just leave it out 2. Use peeled and diced white potatoes 3. Add freshly minced garlic with the whole cumin 4. Tip half a teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin with the turmeric and chilli 5. Use more ground red chilli, or chopped green finger chillies, to make it spicier 6. Replace the fresh tomato with two tablespoons of concentrated tomato puree 7. Sprinkle Amchoor (mango powder) or chaat masala with the garam masala for a tangy twist 8. If you don't have Amchoor or Chaat Masala, use a squirt of lemon for the above You could, of course, add more vegetables. I have a version with cauliflower, Gobi Aloo Matar, here
First wash thoroughly and dice the potatoes into discs. You don’t need to pre-cook or peel them. Also chop the tomatoes into little pieces roughly.
Bring the oil to heat on high in a wok, and when it’s hot add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. As they sizzle up, toss in the tomatoes and the turmeric and chilli. Stir this well for two minutes until the tomatoes start losing shape.
Now mix in the potatoes. Stir through well making sure they are covered evenly with the spice paste, then add half a cup of water, lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until you can insert a fork into a potato disc easily. Make sure you keep gently stirring the potatoes,to avoid the spice paste getting stuck to the bottom. And if it does, you can add a bit of hot water and loosen with your spoon.
When the potatoes are done, add in the frozen peas. Cover and cook for another two minutes. Then stir through the garam masala and salt to your taste. Sprinkle the fresh coriander all over before serving your Aloo Matar hot, preferably with a flatbread of your choice.