When it comes choosing between rice or bread, I often almost always go for rice. Rice just gives me the warm and comforting feel I look for in a pleasing meal. But at times I like to get away from the monotony of rice preparations and steer into the exotic world of Indian breads.
Indian breads vary in size, texture, flavour, colour… er, let’s just say they vary in almost every possible way from each other ranging for the simple everyday Roti, to heavy “full”filling Parathas, to the fit-for-a-king Naan.
But one that reigns high on my list of favourites is none other than the crisy, fluffy, Puri! Fried to a golden crisp texture, this is little treasure can make any meal extravagant. But alas, I’m not here to talk about puris. No dears, we’ll get into that some other time. I promise!
Today I’m here to talk about the wonderful accompaniments to this favourite of Indian breads. Yes, the curries we all love to dip our crispy goodness into and relish!
One of the most standard accompaniments to puris is no doubt the Chole or Chana Masala. I guess its just the blend of flavours and the combination of crispness to the creaminess of the chick peas that make this team up so well. But in the northern parts of India, especial where I come from, New Delhi, puris are enjoyed with a more simpler, yet elegant little fare.
Stop by any 5-star restaurant for a weekend brunch and you will undoubtedly be welcomed with a dish of Puri-Bhaaji on the menu. Bhajis are simple vegetable curries, cooked to perfection. Here however, the bhaji is ruled by the potato. This potato curry may be the simplest curry dish you ever get to make, but don’t let its coy demure look fool you. For with every bite, there lies a flavour so grand, it should be condemened from being called a noble man’s meal.
Alu Bhaaji (Potato Curry)
3-4 mid-size potatoes, boiled and broken into bite-size pieces (Don’t cut the potatoes, instead break them by hand to get a more rustic look) 1 onion, thinly sliced 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped 2-3 green chillies, chopped 1 tsp mustard seeds Â 1 tsp tomato paste 1/4 tsp red chili powder 1/4 tsp turmeric powder 1/2 tsp coriander powder salt, to taste 2 tbsp cooking oil water as needed fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish
Add mustard seeds to hot oil in a deep pan. Once it begins to sizzle, add in sliced onions and green chillies.
Let onions tenderize and brown slightly, and then add tomatoes. Cook till tomatoes pulp and form a saucy texture.
Add salt, turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, and tomato paste, and cook for a minute to blend in spices. Add about a cup of water and allow it to come to a boil. Throw in potato chunks, check curry consistency, adding more water if desired; and cover cook for 5-6 minutes.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve warm with hot, fluffy puris and a side of mango pickle!