This weekend, four of our hardy bike-travelling friends came over for an impromptu dinner. What to feed these ravenous gardening folk with sensitive dietary needs (vegetarian, gluten-free, no corn and no refined sugar)? We settled on a spicy brussel sprout-green bean bhaji, whole fingerling potatoes in a tamarind-tomato gravy and a sweet-hot lemon preserve, all over a brown rice-red quinoa pilaf. We'll give you all the recipes over the next few days; to start with, today's post is about the fingerling potatoes.
We also wanted to make a special dessert that gluten-free folks can't usually enjoy -- dark chocolate brownies tarted up with ganache and peanut butter to look like gooey petit-fours. But how to make brownies without flour, sugar, or glutenous substitutes like malted barley? We're not going to tell you yet, because this batch was a B- at best. The chocolate flavor was strong, but the texture called to mind garbanzo beans and potatoes, which is exactly what gluten-free flour is made of. Not quite bloggable, but we haven't given up yet.
Hey, at least it looks cute.
Dinner for Six, Part One:
Whole Fingerling Potatoes in a Tamarind-Tomato Gravy
2 1/2 pounds of tiny potatoes (1-2 inches in length)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 tomatoes, chopped roughly
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon ground fenugreek (you can roast it whole and grind it yourself in a coffee grinder if you have whole fenugreek seeds around--they make wonderful sprouts as well!)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon butter or canola oil
1 cup water
Salt to taste
Heat about 8 cups of water (enough to cover your potatoes) in a large pot. Add the potatoes once the water begins to boil and cook until they are just barely tender (they'll cook more later). Drain and set aside.
Blend the tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice, cayenne, turmeric, fenugreek and tamarind together in a food processor.
Heat the butter in a large pan on medium heat until melted, then add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion for 5 minutes until starting to soften, then add the tomato mixture. Allow the tomato mixture to simmer for a few moments before adding the potatoes. Stir the potatoes to coat well, then add a cup of water. Turn the heat to low and allow the potatoes to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomato mixture has cooked down to a saucy consistency. Add salt to taste (which might be none, depending on how salty your tomato paste is).
Note #1: If you want to make a brown rice-red quinoa pilaf, rinse 1 and 1/2 cups brown rice and 1/2 cup red quinoa in a strainer. Boil 4 and 1/4 cups water, add rice and quinoa, and simmer about 45 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
Note #2: If you're feeling decadent, one of our dinner guests opined that these potatoes would be even more delicious if they were roasted in olive oil instead of boiled. Next time!