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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
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