Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Celebrating with Poori and Batata bhaaji

baTATyAchi bhAji ANI pUri

Last year, I was in Delhi for several days under some trying circumstances. Since the reason for being there was grim and important, meals were the least of our priorities, and we ate as and when there was time.

The only constant in the day used to be the breakfast in the hotel. The spread was average fare like cereals, toast, fruit, and hah, poori and potato bhaji, or sabji. When I saw that on the first day, I was shocked. Poori bhaji for breakfast? I ate cereal and some toast with orange marmalade. The next day it was alu paratha, and that is only half as bad, but it looked too good to resist, so I ate one. The following day, the poori bhaji appeared again, and we soon found out that these two things alternated there recurrently. I made peace with the alu paratha, but never really got used to the idea of having poori bhaji for breakfast.

For me, poori bhaji has associations of being as part of a meal, usually a festive one, when the dessert is most likely to be shreekhand, or basundi, or aamras in mango season.

BaTaTyachi bhAji

This type of bhaji is made very commonly as part of an everyday meal, and would be outright comfort food with some varan bhaat, but when accompanied by pooris it becomes something special.

Just batata bhaji

I like to use Yukon gold potatoes for this. Just because this is a traditional recipe and precious to me, I wouldn't use red skinned or other fancy potatoes in this one, but I don't see why that wouldn't work either. Sometimes the garlic is omitted, especially if following some religious restrictions, and at other times some chopped onion is added to the bhaji as well.

For 2-3 side servings


4-5 medium sized potatoes
4 cloves of garlic
an inch long piece of garlic
4-5 small green chilies (adjust depending on size of chili or preferred degree of heat)
3-4 Tablespoons oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
good pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
10-15 curry leaves
salt to taste, about 1-1/2 teaspoons
3/4 teaspoon sugar
2-5 Tablespoons of fresh grated coconut (about a handful)
4 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves


Boil the potatoes. This can be done in a pressure cooker too. Peel and chop them into medium sized chunks. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chilies together without to form a rough paste.

Heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the asafoetida, turmeric, curry leaves, potatoes, the paste, salt, and sugar. Stir everything together, lowering the heat if required. Since the potatoes are already fully cooked, stir it just enough to coat it with the spices and heat through. Sprinkle the coconut and cilantro on top.

Poori thali

Poori bhaji served with varan, bhaat and tuup, along with a cool and crunchy gajarachi koshimbir (carrot and peanut salad), apple and figs chutney, and fried poha papad. Rest assured that in the Indian style of eating this is only the first serving, and depending on what one likes, there are seconds, and thirds even.

With this version from our part of the country, I join the Mad Tea Party's Poori Bhaji fest, which already has a good recipe for the pooris too.


Anita said...

Yay! You came!

Thanks, girl, for making the time. And what a wonderful spread! I love poha papad - the cut-up ones too (what are they called, now...mirgundda, yes, right?)
Happy Independence Day to you!

Kelly Mahoney said...

What an interesting dish. I would not think about it for breakfast, either, however, when I was in Egypt, I had some odd breakfast foods as well. There were scrambled eggs and bread and such, but there was also fuul, which is similar to refriend beans, and kabbob, which was a fatty sausage we usually ate for lunch. But then again, after a month of the same thing every day, I was pretty sick of all of it.

TBC said...

I love poori-bhaji but am too lazy to make the pooris.

Richa said...

hey, that's one delicious looking spread! I'm banking on you to post the apple/fig chutney recipe sometime :)

TheCooker said...

What are meal!
Round that off with a masala-paan and you are in heaven.

musical said...

Great thaali, dear! i make the dry bhaaji too sometimes.

Asha said...

Looks delicious! I made one too,reddish this time!:))
I love Poori-bhaji,great combo for dinner i=on the weekends.

evolvingtastes said...

Yes Anita, I couldn't not be there! I love a party, especially mad ones.
The mirgunde are the square ones, yes. They are also slightly spicier I think, but I could be wrong.

Kelly, you lived in Egypt? That is so interesting. You are right about getting sick of the same time of food after the novelty wears off.

tbc, pooris aren't too difficult to make but if you are still a budding cook (!), you will get there, and with practice, the effort required will go down too.

Sure, Richa, for you, I will share the recipe of the apple-fig chutney. But first I need to take some good pictures of it. Perhaps make it again if required.

theCooker, thanks. Are you back yet from vacation? Must've chewed quite a few paans, then. :-)

Thanks musical, so many potato choices, so little time. Dry, as well as gravied, I like them all.

Asha, see you at the party. The reddish one is what used to be served in Delhi too, I assume its the tomatoes that give it the color.

bee said...

apple and fig chutney? yumm. the whole plate looks yum, but that looks and sounds realy fantastic.

Tee said...

A true classic meal! Looks absolutely mouth watering!

Cynthia said...

I can see why this is comfort food. Looks soooooo good.

Saju said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, poori and batata looking so tempting. We make it sometimes, but in gujarati style.

Cinnamon said...

Looks so delicious and tempting!!!

Srivalli said...

That looks so nice ET....thanks for sharing...


Raaga said...

I'm missing her event... no time, as I'm traveling. :-(

but great entry :)

evolvingtastes said...

bee, I bow to you - that huge plate, and you see the tiny speck of a chutney! Recipe should be coming, Richa has asked for it too.

Thanks Tee. btw, did you see my comment about your cabbage bhaji? Loved it!

Cynthia, there is something about starch and comfort across so many cultures, especially potatoes.

Saju, thanks, look forward to your Gujarati version sometime.

Srivalli, Cinnamon, thanks.

Raaga, thanks and happy journey. Business or pleasure?

Also want to extent a hello and welcome here to Tee, Saju, and Cinnamon.

Poonam said...

What a perfect plate! I wish I could eat the whole thing off!

Poonam said...

By the way, your previous tofu post is just lovely! I had also tried your banana bread recipe earlier. It turned just perfect!

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks Poonam, I am so glad that you liked the banana bread!! It is always nice to hear when someone tries out a favorite recipe and likes it. I have yet to meet someone who was disappointed with it.

neroli said...

dear friend, rest assured, with that lovely plate, and those delicious-sounding-and looking sides, there would *definitely* be seconds, and most probably thirds!
Thank you!

evolvingtastes said...

Neroli, thanks for those kind words

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