I have to begin today with an anecdote. One day before Christmas, I called my sister on FaceTime. She happened to be out shopping at the mall, so she cloistered herself in a corner of some store filled with grandma sweaters. She was whispering and looking around anxiously, obviously shy to be talking on Facetime in public (she’s very polite and modest). So I made an enormous embarassing noise and then stayed quiet so that all the old ladies in the store would think it was her. Her face turned so red I thought she might pass out. I still bust a gut every time I remember. And of course I told my friends.
Now fast forward to this past week. Monday was a public holiday in British Columbia – Family Day. And it was a rare, beautifully sunny February day in the pacific northwest. A gift, you might say. And I was home with the flu.
You know, I’ve always been a silver-linings kinda gal, but I was actually absurdly pumped about the sick day. You know when you’re really busy, and you need a really strong nudge (or viral punch in the gut) to get you to kick back and give yourself permission to do nothing? Well, I did. I lay in bed most of the day, I watched so many episodes of Gilmore Girls that I think I’m starting to adopt Lorelai’s mannerisms. I let my husband bring me water and take care of the babies. I felt wretched, but everything else was perfect.
Except I remained sick for the rest of the week and had a really busy schedule lined up. I had this taped film session thing to go to on Tuesday afternoon wherein I had to stand in front of a camera and under hot lights and preferably not throw up. Also, I woke up with a migraine.
I told my friend Gill about the flu/migraine/filming triangle and said I wished she could be there to make me laugh. So, knowing the sister story, she offered to FaceTime me when I was on set to make a big, loud fart sound for all to hear.
I share this with you not because it is relevant, but because picturing it makes me laugh so hard I think I’m going to die and so I think it’s a thing more people should do to one another more often. (And now that I’ve said, I am never, ever answering a FaceTime call in public.)
Anyway, potatoes are probably why you came here and my husband just read this and informed me the story isn’t as funny as I think it is (as I sit, tears streaming down my face in silent laughter), so I’m going to blame the persistent fever and move on. I had these potatoes at my friend Divya’s house and thought they were brilliant – they tasted just like the filling of a samosa. Such a great idea for an Indian side dish. So I recreated them at home on the day I made Tandoori Fried Chicken. A seriously delicious combo.
I left the potatoes kind of chunky, which is how Divya did them, but you could mash them fully if you like. The cooked potatoes are sauteed in oil and butter with spices, then tossed with peas and cilantro.
Why you should never, ever answer a FaceTime call in public, the pleasures of a good flu, and spiced potatoes with peas that taste exactly like the filling of a vegetarian samosa. Mashed or diced, it's an excellent Indian side dish.
- 2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 jalapeno finely chopped
- 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- Pinch of asaofetida only, and I mean ONLY, if you already have it in your pantry
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender but not falling apart. Drain thoroughly.
Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add jalapeno and ginger; cook until softened, about a minute more, then add the salt and remaining spices.
Reduce heat to low. Add the drained potatoes and peas and toss gently but thoroughly to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until hot. Taste and add more salt if needed. Stir in cilantro.