Sometimes it seems to me that cooking consists of either: two hours following an intricate recipe, followed by ten minutes persuading it to flush down the toilet; or, ten minutes throwing something together from left-overs, followed by two hours of trying to figure out why it was so damn good.

Tonight I decided to follow a recipe that I have used before. It's a mild Indian potato curry that's often used for stuffing rice-flour pancakes called dosa to make masala dosa, which is more or less the Indian equivalent of a sandwich. Unfortunately, I was also in the middle of a writeup when I started cooking; I got distracted, failed to prepare properly, completely screwed up the recipe... and it came out great. Here it is.

Mofaha's mild potato curry

For 2 generous servings, you'll need:

4 medium-sized potatoes, unpeeled
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
3/4 inch cube of fresh ginger root, very finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1 level teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2-3 cups of water

Boil the potatoes until they're tender, then set them aside to cool.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When it's fairly hot, throw in the black mustard seeds and stir until the seeds start to pop.

Turn down the heat, throw in the onions, and fry them, stirring continuously, for about five minutes or until they're translucent. You don't want them to brown, so watch the heat and keep them moving.

When the onions are translucent, add one cup of water, throw in the ginger, the turmeric, and about half of the salt, and stir well. Turn the heat down a little more. The ginger needs to 'cook in' for about two minutes. Meanwhile:

Peel the potatoes (the peel should just pull off easily) and cut them into quarters, then throw them into the pan. Stir carefully, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and allow to cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture looks like it's drying out, add more water.

After five minutes, use a blunt-edged utensil such as a spoon to break up the potatoes into smaller pieces. Stir, cover again, and cook for a further three or four minutes, again making sure that the mixture doesn't stick.

By this time, the dish should consist of potatoes in a very thick sauce. Add more salt to taste if required, and stir once. If you've added too much water and the sauce is thin, just turn up the heat and keep stirring until the water evaporates and the sauce thickens. And that's it.

I served this on its own, but it would be a great accompaniment to other dishes, and if you know how to make dosas, I think it would be a perfectly acceptable filling, if a little plain. A few extra spices fried in with the mustard seeds at the beginning would fix that though. Just chuck 'em in, you know how it goes.

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