I heard of ‘husk batato’ after Rajesh and I got married. Neither Rajesh nor I know the origin of the word ‘husk’ in the husk batato. Based on what Rajesh’s aunt told us, the phrase was coined by my mother-in-law. Amma used to make a mean ‘husk batato’ and for someone who loves potatoes, this was one of her signature dishes, according to me. I’ll post her dish one of these days, but this particular dish that I’ve prepared here though is the recipe of Rajesh’s aunt (my mother-in-law’s sister) and though its also called ‘husk batato’, there’s a slight variation in the way she makes it.
- Small potatoes - 1 1/2 lbs
- Sambhar powder - 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- Asafoetida (Hing) powder - a pinch
- Salt to taste
- Oil - 3 tblsp
- Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Wash, peel and cut the baby potatoes into half and if are small enough, leave them whole. Preboil the potatoes in water till they are half (50%) cooked. Drain in a colander and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the sambhar, turmeric, hing powders together and also add salt to taste.
Pour the mixed powders on top of the half cooked potatoes and mix well seeing to it that each and every piece of potato is well coated with the powders. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
Heat oil in a wide nonstick pan. When hot, season with mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, put in the 'marinated' potatoes amd mix well. Cook on low flame till potatoes are cooked through.
Goes very well with white rice and Daalithoi (Konkani Daal) and in a bind, you can also serve this as an appetizer. Garnish with little finely chopped cilantro, offer some toothpicks to your guests and voila, a quick and easy starter!
- Sambhar powder is available in Indian stores. In my case, I use the one that my Mom makes at home and sends across, and according to me, that is way better than any powder that is available out there.
- You need to use a little more oil than required for regular upkaris/stir fry because the potatoes are being cooked without adding any water and you need a slightly crunchy exterior for the potatoes. If you are using a nonstick pan, maybe you can go a little low on the oil, but the more oil there is, the crunchier your potatoes get.
- Do not overcook the potatoes or they tend to go soft. Remove it off the flame when it still has a little bite to it!