Tuesday, 12 July 2016



          My paternal grandmother used to make this curry for my father when he was a boy. He lost her long before he was married. My father, though an excellent cook himself, had little time to cook as he had to run his jewellery business. So he taught my mother many of his recipes. When mother made bototo piyyava amshé tikshé, I was invariably the first to queue up for lunch as I so loved this curry.

          The potato chunks curried in their jackets retained such a wonderfully strong earthy flavour, that no other side dish was needed to gobble up a plateful of rice. The jackets are simply peeled off at the time of eating the chunks. Do cook this curry and enjoy.


     1)    Potatoes – 1 kg.
     2)    Onion – 120 gm.
     3)    Tamarind – 20 gm.
     4)    Cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
     5)    Hot red chili powder – 15 gm.
     6)    Coriander powder – 7 gm.
     7)    Powdered salt – 18 gm.

To cook:

          Soak the tamarind in 300 ml. of warm water. As soon as the water cools, squeeze the tamarind nicely with your fingers until the pulp dissolves. Sieve and set aside the tamarind water.

          Soak, scrub and wash the potatoes. Cut them roughly into chunks of around 1-inch (3 cm.) size. Peel the onion and dice it likewise.

Set a curry vessel on the stove. Pour in the oil and throw in the onion pieces. Stir and sauté them for a minute. Now tip in the chili powder and the coriander powder. Stir for a minute and chuck in the potatoes. Pour in the tamarind juice. Add some water to submerge the potato chunks entirely. Tip in the salt. As soon as it comes to a boil, lower the heat and cover with a lid.

Let the potatoes take their time to cook nicely. Soon, your kitchen will be permeated with a nice earthy aroma of the cooked potatoes. Stick in a knife or fork to see if the potatoes are well cooked.

Taste the curry. Add more salt if you wish. Your delicious bototo piyyava amshé tikshé is now ready to enjoy. Serve with hot rice, dosa, vellappam, pathiri, machkat, roasted idlis, or putte. Or else, just enjoy the warm potato chunks by themselves, squeezing off the skin and licking your fingers after every bite!


          During my grandmother’s time, curry powders were not in vogue. So she would hand grind the roasted chilies, the roasted coriander seeds and the tamarind to fine paste. The roasting was done with coconut oil. Be sure to try this ancient cooking technique at your leisure and recreate the true taste of the spices in your dish as the older generation enjoyed.

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