When I went to Bangalore and Agra, India a year and a half ago I discovered the joys of Northern Indian cuisine, especially their vegetarian sautee dishes. Although they are usually served with gluten wheat flatbread, you can always order them with rice. Of all the dishes I enjoyed, Aloo Jeera, or potatoes with Cumin, was one of my absolute favorites. I never thought I liked cumin all that much, but somehow in this dish the tangy, pine-flavored cumin infused oil perfectly enhances the creamy, starchy potato. All I really needed for the perfect meal on the road in India (or in a parade of hotels) was a big scoop of Aloo Jeera and some basic white, long-grained rice. When I got home at first I was ready for a break from Indian food, but once I was back for a while I started daydreaming about hearty and satisfying aloo jeera. When our local Celiac Bay Area group had a potluck recently with a Indian food theme, I knew I had to try to make some to share with my fellow gluten-free diners. Not only is the dish vegetarian, and based on one of my favorite gluten-free starches, the potato, but it is naturally dairy and egg free. So, here’s my first attempt at recreating Aloo Jeera like I enjoyed in India. I don’t know that this is the perfect recipe- but it’s tasty, and a good start to some very enjoyable experiments.
Aloo Jeera Indian Potato and Cumin Recipe
1 1/4 lb. Potatoes, peeled, diced, and set in a bowl of cool water
2 tbsp. oil (I like mustard, but peanut, canola, safflower etc work)
4 tsp. Cumin seeds (Depending on your preference)
2 tsp. minced garlic (or less, to taste)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or less to taste
1 regular tomato or 2 small tomatoes, chopped and deseeded
1 small handful fresh cilantro, rinsed and chopped
Heat oil in your cast iron pan and add cumin seeds. Add your diced potatoes and then mix in your minced garlic, coriander, salt, and cayenne pepper. Combine thoroughly and then lower heat. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Test for doneness. When almost fork tender, add your chopped tomato and cilantro, cover and let cook for another 5 minutes or so. Taste, add any seasonings you like, and serve.