Dharani's Potatoes & Dinesh Update
Folks often ask what’s up with the inimitable Dinesh, that affable hero of Kept: An American Househusband in India. First, he married well. From the epilogue—“Dinesh is now a slightly chubby personification of the Indian dream. His parents arranged for him an excellent match to intelligent and kindhearted Dharani.”
After Dinesh worked for us, he landed at job at the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai. Dharani also worked there. Through hard work and careful saving, Dharani and Dinesh brought property and built a home. They have two amazing girls, Harshini and Gaayathri. Gaayathri graduated high school this year and plans to attend university in the fall. Harshini is a precocious junior high schooler.
The advent of COVID-19 and staff reductions at the British Deputy High Commission led Dharani and Dinesh to seek a better future for their girls outside of India. This week the family began a new life together in Edmonton, Alberta.
In 2017, Dinesh and family visited us in Texas. Not surprisingly, they found American food intolerably bland, which turned out to be a big bonus for my family; Dharani cooked for us every day of their visit! I begged Dharani for recipes, and she graciously obliged. Below is one of our favorites. You may have to go to an Indian grocery to get some ingredients, but that’s worth the trip and half the fun. Enjoy! - g
4 medium potatoes
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small cube of ginger root
3 cloves garlic
1 small green chili
1 medium tomato, diced
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 – 1/2 ground chili
handful of chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
Boil the potatoes for twenty minutes and allow them to cool completely. This can be done in advance, and the potatoes can be refrigerated for a day or so. Peel and cube the potatoes.
Heat vegetable oil in a large, non-stick skillet. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Add the onion when the cumin seeds begin to darken and stir-fry for around a minute. Add salt to taste.
Put the ginger, garlic, green chili and coarsely chopped tomato in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add this mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, two or three minutes. Add the tomato slices and cook, stirring, for a few more minutes.
Add the potatoes and stir gently to coat. Add turmeric, ground chili, ground coriander, garam masala, water and combine. Simmer three to four minutes until you have a thick gravy coating the potatoes. Stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately with basmati rice or Indian bread of your choice.