Its hard contemplate or clearly remember life before the discovery of the internet... or the potato. Can't think of a more universal ingredient that so many cuisines have adapted (well... maybe chilli pepper), So its but natural that when the 2 South American expats get together.. its like a match made in ... Kitchen Stadium!
ok.. what the ^&%^&% is 'podimas'?.. the history (I think) goes back to the colonial Brits and the Portuguese. They were responsible for the introduction of ' western veggies' into India. While the brahmin orthodoxy took their time to incorporate them into their traditional cuisine (a lot of the new world veggies are 'non kosher' for many ceremonial feasts to this day!), one of the dishes they happily incorporated and laid claim was the mashed potato! since creaming vegetables to a smooth mashed consistency was really not favored (even considered over done & hence fit only for a convalescent diet, for babies, or the old toothless great grandaunt with the prayerbeads in the corner ), Potatoes were crumbled finely and sauteed with onions & peas. but the 'mash' stuck along with the Tamil word for 'crumble' (podi) & hence the name 'podi mas'.
The consistency of this dish varies from recipe to recipe some like it crumbly & bone dry while others prefer a softer, more moist version. I like making this in a cast iron pan simply to get the lovely golden crunchy crust from the bottom of the pan.
Notes: By all means, go ahead & substitute 1/2 a deseeded jalapeno instead of the cherry pepper. The function is simply to provide the heat.
- Serves 6-8
medium-large idaho potatoes
shallots or onion finely sliced
Canola oil (+ extra if desired)
whole black mustard seeds
red cherry pepper,deseeded & finely chopped (makes for a color contrast with the peas & easier to pick out if necessary!)
finely chopped ginger root
curry leaves, torn
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
finely chopped cilantro for garnish
fresh grated coconut for garnish (optional)
- Scrub the potatoes, cut in half & boil in adequate water till soft. Allow to cool, peel & crumble. Set aside. Boil the frozen peas in the microwave with some water (~ 5-8 minutes), till done. Drain the water & reserve the peas.
- Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet or wok. When it just begins smoking, add the mustard & cumin. Allow to sputter and then add the chopped ginger & chili pepper. Stir well for about a minute.
- Add the shallots & curry leaves & saute on medium heat till the shallots just barely begin to brown (mostly pinkish translucent). Add in the peas along with salt . stir and allow to cook for ~ 1-2 minutes on a low-medium heat.
- Add the crumbled potatoes and combine to mix well (the peas & onions should be distributed evenly with the potato)
- Adding extra oil (to get a nice crunchy crust) if necessary, allow the potato mixture to cook over a low-medium heat till the bottom begins acquiring a golden brown crust.
- Remove from the heat, garnish with chopped cilantro & coconut & drizzle with lime juice (or alternatively scoop into individual servings & serve with lime wedges on the side)