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Aloo Hing Ki Sath (potatoes With Asafetida)

What is asafetida; resin made from the sap of Ferula foetida, a plant that grows in India, Afghanistan, and Iran. The name derives from the Persian asa, gum, and the Latin foetida, stinking. In medieval times, asafetida was reputed to warn off witches. The ancient Romans found it to be the only acceptable substitute for silaphium, an herb that disappeared due to over-cropping during the time of Emperor Nero. It is a powerful seasoning, a mere pinch will impart a trufflelike flavor to any unsuspecting dish. Today the ingredient is used mostly in India, where it is called hing. Jains and Hindu Brahminus use it in place of onions, which are prohibited in their cooking because of their strong smell. It is sold in lumps and can be stored for years and broken as needed, and in powder form, this is not as potent because it is often mixed with rice flour. Both are worth looking for in Indian markets. The author says that they use this dish to introduce people to the Truffle-like flavor of asafetida.

Cuisine: Indian
Type: Vegetables
Courses: Dressings, Starters and appetizers
Serves: 1 people

Recipe Ingredients

1 lb 454g / 16ozSmall new potatoes - peeled and quartered
1 pinch  Salt
1 pinch  Turmeric
2 tablespoons 30mlVegetable oil
1 teaspoon 5mlCumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon 1.3mlPowdered asafetida - see note
2   Green chiles - seeded and finely chopped
1/3 cup 48g / 1.7ozCoarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

Recipe Instructions

Put potatoes in a pot filled with salted water. Add the turmeric and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until potatoes are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in cumin seeds and fry until they pop, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle asafetida into skillet, add chiles, and fry, stirring constantly, until the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add potatoes to spices and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add peanuts, mix, and season to taste with salt.

Paul Levy - Saveur 4/98


Average rating:

8.3 (3 votes)

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