Continuing on my fascination with Fenugreek this week, I decided (at the suggestion of my sister) to search for a recipe where it paired with potato. Well, let’s just say it was a good suggestion, as there were tons of recipes for what is called Aloo Methi (aloo = potato, methi = fenugreek). Now, most of the time I make up my own recipes completely off the top of my head, but sometimes (like any good chef and with this recipe, especially) I get inspiration from another recipe and make changes in quantities, ingredients, etc. to make it my own.
Indian food is something I don’t have a lot of experience with, I mean I keep going back to my Italian Nona – I just haven’t been making it my whole life. Most of it really comes from a dinner party my sister and I threw a couple years back where we attacked Vij’s cookbook and learned the proper way to cook curry. But given that fact the technique came pouring back – like riding a bike. When you do a technique once, it’s like your fingers remember it – when you close your eyes you can feel the process even when you’re not actually doing it. I just got chills up my spine – with a feeling like that, you’d think I like cooking or something…..?
Anyways, I decided to give this a go – I added a couple more spices such as; brown mustard seeds, coriander seed, etc. but mostly kept it relatively traditional (I think/hope). The one thing that I’m extremely proud of are the Coconut and Almond Flour Chapati I made! Gluten free, egg free, however remarkably fun and delicious! I figured this curry needed a little something to pick it up with (physically). Granted they may not look exactly how my Nani (Punjabi grandmother) would make them, but hey, they worked extremely well. Crispy on the outside, dense but chewy in the middle – I’m definitely going to use coconut flour for baked products a lot more.
Curry is an interesting concept to swallow (pun intended). I mean, what is it anyways? Is it a sauce, a spice, a dish? Well, the fact of the matter is it’s all three…..Western cultures use it as a generic term to speak of a large number of dishes coming from the Middle East, Africa, or Southeast Asian cuisines. The common characteristic is the complex combinations of spices and herbs with an incorporation (usually, but not always) of some kind of hot or dried chili. Traditional curries, like most cultural cuisine, select their spices depending on their national, regional or religious practice. “Curry powder” is a commercially prepared Western concept which is thought to have first been offered by Indian merchants for members of the British government and army. It is essentially a mixture of typical spices that would go into curry. Although it may seem redundant to use if you have cumin, coriander, turmeric, etc. in your pantry, but I can’t lie – I still use it as well most of the time. With this dish, today, I did not, however.
Typically my favourite curries are offered in Thai cuisine. This is specifically because of the addition of coconut milk. I know it may seem like I’m completely obsessed with coconuts, but…..well, actually, it’s true, I am. There is something absolutely satisfying about sweet and spicy curry; where the heat creeps up on you out of the depths of intense flavour. Just spectacular.
Believe it or not, Curry is quite good for you. The health benefits are abundant, but I’ve decided to give you a select few that I find appealing in a meal. First of all, if prepared properly, the dish can be both low in fat and calories. But fat and calories are not the only thing that can make or break the nutritional factor of something. The spices used in a typical Indian curry, such as turmeric, have been found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as prostate, breast, skin, and colorectal cancers. This dish can also boost your immune system through the rich abundance of vitamins C, A, and B6. Finally, my favourite benefit of this dish, it can actually help improve the appearance of your skin and help prevent the negative cosmetic effects of exposure to pollutants or smoke. Um, yes please. 🙂
OK, enough is enough, let’s get to it!
Serves 2 – with some leftover for lunch the next day
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 potatoes, chopped (a little bigger than the onion – I used Russets here but that’s just because I like the nutrients that come out of the skin – I think any potato would work here, but that’s probably not traditional)
- 1 bunch of fresh fenugreek, roughly chopped
- a couple of sprigs of cilantro, torn (and some for garnish)
Heat your oil in a medium saucepan (you can use a sautuse too just make sure it has a tight fitting lid) over medium heat. Traditionally, in an Indian curry, you would use Ghee (clarified butter) but again, seeing as I’m obsessed with coconut oil, I used it instead. Once the oil is hot, start to add the spices – when they stop popping added the garlic, cook for a minute or so, then add the onions. You have just made your flavour base.
When the onions are translucent, add the potato and coat well with the flavour base. Add about a 1/4 cup of liquid (I just used water, but coconut milk would be great, chicken stock – any liquid really), cover and let the potatoes cook. Check on it every so often – you don’t want your potatoes to be mush so don’t over cook them.
About halfway through (5 – 7 minutes after you put the lid on it) throw in the fenugreek. Put the lid back on, and finish cooking.
When the potatoes are cooked, take the lid off, stir the mixture around and let the water evaporate – it should happen pretty quickly. Plate, and serve.
** While all this is happening I made my chapati. If you want to make them in advance, totally alright – especially if multitasking is not something you can do easily. Just keep them in a 200F oven while you are making the curry.
Coconut & Almond Flour Chapati
** Ensure your hands are clean**
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- a few leaves of cilantro
- cold water
In a medium bowl, measure out the coconut flour, almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix together with the tips of your fingers.
Tear up the cilantro with your fingers and toss it in the bowl. Mix – you guessed it – with your fingers.
Begin to add the water – a little at a time. Mix with your fingers 🙂 => you want to do this so you can feel the texture of the dough. Once it all comes together – ie. all the little bits on the bottom of the bowl stick to the dough – stop adding water. If you’ve put in too much water – just add a bit more coconut flour – the dough should not be sticky/tacky.
Kneed the dough a bit – that means play with it in your hands, in the bowl, just develop a little elasticity – you’ll be able to tell if you haven’t done it enough, because the dough will rip easily.
Form the dough into balls and pat them down into discs about a 1/2-in thick (any thinner, they will rip). Heat a pan on medium heat, add a Tbsp of coconut oil, and cook like pancakes to golden brown on both sides. Enjoy!
I had a lot of fun with this recipe, predominantly because the chapatis turned out so well using coconut flour. I truly thought that there wouldn’t have been enough “gluten” in the coconut flour to really form a flatbread-type of idea, but, hey, sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised with the ideas you come up with.
Don’t be afraid with the amount of spices you add to curries. Just when you think you have enough, add a little more – then it’s perfect. 🙂