My Sri Lankan Devilled Potatoes
5 Medium potatoes cut into large equal size quarters.
3 Green chillies sliced
3 Cloves garlic
2-3 large Bombay onions ( large onions)
Curry leaves, pandan leaves
Cinnamon 2 inch piece
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
1tsp Dry chilli flakes
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cumin powder OR 1 tsp cumin seeds (not both)
1 large Tomato - seeds removed and diced into medium size chunks
1) Wash, peel and quarter the potatoes into somewhat large equal sized chunks.
2) Put them into a saucepan with just enough water to cover them, add some salt and bring it to boil.( Aim is to cook them fully or just 10% under)
3) While it’s boiling away, slice the onions finely. Slice- (not chop, grind, blend, puree or any other way), making sure they are all the same size and shape. Slice the garlic and prep the tomatoes and green chillies too.
4) Put a large pan on the fire ( wok shaped or karahi shaped. If not available a large non stick frying pan would do.) And heat it up.
5.) Now add 3-4 tablespoons of coconut or vegetable oil, and when it’s hot enough add the garlic, curry leaves, pandan leaves, cinnamon stick and stir well.
6) After about 30 seconds, add the mustard seeds, red chilli flakes, cumin powder/seeds and turmeric. Keep stirring, don't let it catch.
7) After another 20-30 seconds add all the onions and let it fry well in the spice mixture. Let this cook nice and slow for as long as it needs to, to start getting golden brown.( i.e. half should be golden brown and the other half just under.)
8) At this stage you need to be checking that your potatoes are cooked perfectly. ( stick a fork in one. If it goes through easily it's done.)
Drain it very well out of water and very carefully add the potatoes into the pan with the onions.
( Tip/ Warning- Just make sure no water enters the hot pan with the potatoes in case it splashes back at you.)
9) Now add another pinch of turmeric, 1tsp salt, throw in the green chillies and the chopped tomato and give it a very good stir. Then keep stirring some more. All the spices and the onions need to get fully mixed with the potatoes. Basically, the full mixture should be getting ‘tempered’ in the pan. It is fine if some of the potatoes get smashed at this stage but try to leave more intact. Let it cook for about 5 minutes longer.
10) Check for seasoning.
You'll know it's done when-
Texture- All the onions have fried brown but not burnt. The potatoes are beautifully fluffy with some smashed up and some holding shape. You'll see the curry leaves and pandan, mustard seeds and cinnamon spread equally well over the pan. Ideally they should be lots of onions to make this dish very tasty.
Taste- It should taste well seasoned. But more importantly it should taste HOT. As in you'll feel the fire on your taste buds.( Of course you can reduce heat levels to suit personal preferences or add more if you can handle it- but then you need to do it a bit sooner.)
Smell- The kitchen will smell aromatic from the herbs and the fried onion. There shouldn't be any residue smell of any burnt spices.
Colour- The colour as you can see in the picture should be a nice vibrant yellow with a few red and greens dotted about. If too pale, add a pinch more turmeric but cook for 3-4 minutes longer afterwards.
Now, it’s done.