There is a reason why Indians are amongst the most overweight in the world. No man or child from a self respecting “khaata peeta ghar” ( home of plenty) will be allowed to venture out in the morning without being adequately fortified to keep brain and body sustained…Not for them sliced fruit or sugar free cereal in skimmed milk… Depending on which part of India you come from, dawn comes with the smell of hot ghee or oil wafting out from homes, and roadside stalls alike… Tawas or griddles sizzle with hot parathas (breads) and perfect moon shaped discs of pooris or luchis puff up like magic in karhais ( woks). These are served with vegetable curries, pickles or curds. There is usually a “little” side of something sweet accompanying it – can range from hot crisp jelabis that burst on your palate to release saffron flavoured syrup or spongy white rasgullas – Bengal’s solution for all ills…. or a even a bowl of halwa made with anything from lentils to semolina to carrots oozing ghee and garnished with raisins and nuts..
Whilst all for healthy eating…nothing can beat a typical breakfast in India… And when in Agra or Varanasi, a trip would be incomplete without sampling the bedai poori ( lentil stuffed bread) or a kachori and Alu tarkari which is a lightly spiced potato curry. Varanasi has a special street dedicated to its famous breakfast called Kachodi Galli where thousands flock for sustenance… Hundreds of little stalls and shops line the narrow street with huge cauldrons of bubbling ghee offering deep fried savoury kachodis stuffed with lentils served with a red chilli pickle and potato curry … Served in small terracotta bowls and leaf platters .. You then balance the savoury with a freshly fried hot jalebi or two which as though not sweet enough is served with rabdi a thickened and sweetened concoction of full cream milk. In winter a frothy dessert called Malaiyo is available in the mornings… which is nothing but sweetened and saffron flavoured whipped cream left outside overnight to chill…. Said to be flavoured by the morning dew and like the winter chill is only found for a few weeks in the year..
These last few days I have vowed every night that the next morning’s breakfast will be nothing but fruit and like the crisp white set agenda that I have in my bag, started the meal with good intentions …a bit like our travels But somewhere along have meandered and strolled – like the chaotic bylanes of the cities we have been staying in… My waistline is showing the results but whilst in India… once we get back to normal life back home it’s only going to be fruit and green tea…. But that’s a resolution for another day…
- 600 to 650 gms potatoes
- 2 to 3 green chilies, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
- 1 tsp dry ginger powder or 1 inch ginger, finely chopped *
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch
- ½ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
- ¼ tsp asafoetida powder/hing
- 1 tsp dry mango powder/amchur
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves/dhania
- 3 cups water
- 2 tbsp oil
- salt as required
- boil the potatoes till they are very well cooked and can be easily mashed.
- peel and lightly mash the potatoes. keep aside.
- heat oil in a pan. crackle the cumin first.
- add the green chilies and stir for a few seconds.
- switch off the flame and add all the spice powders one by one – turmeric, asafoetida, kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala powder and dry ginger powder.
- stir and keep the pan on fire again.
- add the mashed potatoes and stir well. pour 3 cups water. add the dry mango powder and salt.
- stir very well and let the curry simmer for 10 to 12 mins till all the flavors from the spices have well blended in the curry.
- the potatoes will also help to thicken the curry a bit.
- check the taste and add more of the red chili powder or dry mango powder or salt if required.
- add the coriander leaves and switch off the flame. stir and keep covered for few minutes.
- serve with any indian bread – preferably chappatis or pooris.