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South-Asian Mashed Potatoes (Aloo Bharta)
These are not fluffy, buttery all-American mashed potatoes that serve as a backdrop for other dishes. Aloo bharta, from India and Pakistan, is fragrant with spices and punchy with aromatics; our version also is golden from ground turmeric. The recipe starts by making a tarka (also called tadka), or bloomed spices in hot fat, to build a rich flavor foundation for the dish. While the potatoes cook, we steep finely chopped onion, fresh chilies and mint in lemon juice to soften any harshness in the raw ingredients; half of the mixture is stirred into the spiced potatoes after they’ve been mashed in the skillet and the rest goes on as garnish. If you like a lot of heat, keep the seeds in one or both of the chilies. Serve as a side to kebabs or with grilled or seared fish.
tablespoons coconut oil, preferably unrefined
tablespoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
01In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt the coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds; cook, stirring, until sizzling, fragrant and beginning to pop, 1 to 1½ minutes. Stir in the turmeric, then add the potatoes and stir to coat. Add 4 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes yield when pressed with a spoon and the water has cooked off, 30 to 35 minutes.
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