There’s nothing like traveling for a weekend to make me crave home-cooked, healthy fare. A weekend of eating fast food had me suddenly wishing for a big bowlful of vegetables.
But exhaustion from sleeping in unfamiliar environs and a late-night concert also meant I wanted something easy and stress-free.
Thankfully, I remembered the ghurma aloo recipe I came across sometime last year. Aloo is apparently Persian for potato, and ghurma is stew, so it’s definitely simple and easy with few ingredients.
However, I wanted a little more than potatoes — and tomatoes, onions, and spices. So, I added some peas and chickpeas, and skimped on a few of the potatoes. I served it over rice, and in all, it was ready in about the time it took to watch a “Psych” episode.
Aside from simple, it’s also just delicious.
If you cook Middle Eastern food at all, you’ll also have most of the spices on hand. The least likely is cumin seeds but we’ve kept those in our house for years. The others are turmeric, cayenne, and cilantro; plus, a little salt (and I threw in pepper).
It’s amazing what a handful of spices and time can do to vegetables.
Here’s what I did, adapting a recipe on Epicurious:
- 1 lb. potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes (I used Yukon Gold but any will work)
- 2 T. canola oil
- 2 T. cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 t. ground turmeric
- 1 t. salt
- Pepper, to taste
- Cayenne, to taste (I used about 2 t. and it was surprisingly spicy for my moderate palate)
- 1 c. water
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas
- 1 to 1 ½ c. frozen peas
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
- Rice for serving, optional
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they turn reddish brown, about 10 seconds. Add the potatoes, onion, and turmeric, and fry for about 5 minutes, until the onions and potatoes are lightly browned, stirring frequently.
Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and give it another quick stir to mix together. Add the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, peas, and tomatoes, and cook covered for another 5 minutes until the peas are cooked through. Add the cilantro, and give the mixture another stir. Mash the potatoes slightly, if desired, and enjoy with rice!