Another Monday and I had to drag a whining Yuvi out of bed and into the shower, threaten him, cajole him and persuade him to wear his shorts and put on his shoes and go to school. He went from “sound asleep” to “distraught outburst” in seconds when he heard the word “School”. He couldn’t believe it was Monday already and he just couldn’t bear the thought of going to school and spending 3 hours among his bawling friends and harried teachers. He’s not yet accustomed to Mondays. I am not, after 30 odd years. I hate Mondays too as I do all working days, only more because it’s the start of many more working days to come.
Hasini is more resigned to the inevitable and goes about getting ready looking dull and downcast. Hasini takes lunch to school these days. So lunch has to be readied before 8:30 am.
Have you noticed that you oversleep when it’s raining or when it’s Monday? You don’t? Then it’s probably just me. I generally over-sleep and I was trying to find some pattern. But whatever it is, Monday lunch has to be quick and simple. You don’t want to fiddle around with koftas or vazhaipoo vadai on a Monday. Nothing like Lemon rice for a hustled, rushed Monday morning. As much as I deride Lemon rice, Lemon rice is what I turn to it when I am in trouble. Plus it is perfect for packed lunches.
You know the cardinal rule of variety rices. If you don’t remember please go back and read it here. Variety rices must be accompanied by a heavy duty side dish or potato chips. So I made Potato kari to go with the lemon rice. This potato kari also features on my TamilNadu meals I made a couple of months back. Now I call this dry potato fry a “potato kari” for a reason. Did you notice that it is “kari” and not “curry”? This is an Iyer style potato fry, the way Tamil Iyers (Brahmins) make it using a kari powder (Recipe given below) and that’s how they call it. They (clue: I am not TamBrahm but I love their food) call vegetables “karikai” and their vegetable preparations as “potato kari”, “kathirikkai kari” and so on.
There is no garlic, ginger or onion in this fry but it tastes fantastic with lemon rice or just plain rasam rice. The kari podi is a simple mix of 3 ingredients – roasted in oil and then ground fine. You could make this kari powder in bulk in advance and store in air-tight container. That’s what I’ve done. It comes in super-handy during morning rush-hour cooking.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Ingredients – Potato kari
Potatoes – 4 large boiled, peeled and cubed
Kari podi – 2 tbsp (recipe below)
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Split Urad dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 stem
Oil – 2-3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Iyer style Kari podi
Whole dry red chillies – 3-4 (long variety)
Channa dal/Kadalai paruppu – 1 tbsp
Dhania/Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Boil potatoes, peel and cube them. Set aside.
To make the kari podi, heat 1 tsp oil in a kadai/pan and when hot drop in the whole dry red chillies, coriander seeds and channa dal and fry till channa dal turns reddish and chillies are dark but not burnt. Remove from heat. Cool slightly and powder in a mixer till ground fine. Don’t add water.
Heat a kadai/pan, add 2 tbsp oil. When hot add the mustard seeds. When they splutter throw in the curry leaves and urad dal. When the urad dal turns light brown add the kari powder and salt. Immediately throw in the cubed potatoes and toss well to coat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes till the potatoes are nicely roasted. Add more oil if you’d like it crispy. Remove from heat. Serve hot with rice. If packing for lunch, cool slightly and then pack in tiffin box.