01 December 2016

Hungry Expat's "Indianized" Best Baked Potato

Growing up, baked potatoes were my go-to meal because they were quick and easy and required pretty much zero level of skill to make. An American baked potato, while filling, comprises of very little and is easily cooked:
potato                            butter                        sour cream                   cheddar cheese              salt                            ground black pepper

It was also common to spice it up a bit with the ever popular Bac-os (for those of you uninitiated in American imitation food - that is bacon flavored "bits" made out of soy or some such) or chives. If you were really ambitious, you could also cover lightly in olive oil and dust with sea salt for a better baking result, but I rarely exerted that little bit of extra effort and opted for the quick and dirty microwave.

Indian potatoes are frequently boiled and mixed with other dry vegetables in tumeric, cumin, curry leaves, etc. Dum aloo is a popular "wet" curry with nice flavors that could be adaptable for the American palate. It includes:

potatoes                  yogurt                         cloves
red onion                bay leaf                      cashew nuts
asaf                         red chili powder         fenugreek leaves
turmeric powder     ginger garlic paste     coriander leaves (cilantro)
coriander seeds       cumin seeds               sugar
green cardamom     cinnamon                   salt

I am much more adventurous in the kitchen compared to my teenaged self (even compared to my 20-something self), but that is so many ingredients! Since many of them are also popular in Mexican/Tex-Mex cooking as well, I decided to stick to what I know and make something of a cross-cultural creation using American, Indian, and Mexican flavors for my "Indianized" baked potato

(2) roma tomatoes        (1) red onion                  (5) garlic cloves
cilantro                         salt                                 ground black pepper
red chili powder           cumin seeds                   yogurt
butter                            cheddar cheese

I started by creating a concotion of chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, and cilantro (stems and all) mixed with a dash of red chili powder and cumin seeds to make a quasi pico de gallo type sauce. For me, the cumin seeds really brought in the Indian-y flavor (maybe because we put varying types of cumin in everything here...). 

I topped the microwaved potato (I don't have a proper oven to bake here) with melted butter, a dollop of yogurt, salt & pepper, and my "salsa". Sadly, I am out of cheese (and too lazy to venture out to the store, so it seems). So, while I highly recommend topping with a (heavy) sprinkling of cheddar, mine went without. I thought it was delightful and a nice way to spice up my recent craving for a regular, boring baked potato. However, my authentic Indian taste tester, Curry Delight, is traveling to the exotic reaches of Finland at the moment, so we'll have to wait until next time for his opinion. The final product:
What makes a dish taste "Indian" to you? What are your suggestions for my next "Indianized" dish?

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