Friday, June 1, 2007

Nepalese Potato Salad

I will be the first to admit that I am 100% certain that this resembles not at all anything eaten by the Nepalese. I will also be the first to admit that I don't care, cause this salad is yummy.

Dave and I were in Burlington, Vermont a few summers ago and stopped at their very nice farmer's market. We built a picnic out of various items we found there; one of them was a version of this salad (it was labeled Nepalese potato salad).

I did a little web research and I tinkered with what I thought should be in the salad and this is my current version. You should get puckeriness from the lime juice, heat from the chilies, saltiness from the salt (duh) and a smoky-nutty effect from the asafetida (optional) and toasted sesame seeds.

Nepalese Potato Salad (Aloo Achar)
  • 1 pound potatoes (I have made this with russets, red skins and fingerlings - all good, but different, try red skinned first. I have also made a variation where I used roasted potatoes instead of boiled; VERY good)
  • 4 tablespoons ground toasted sesame seeds (you can buy toasted sesame seeds at the supermarket near sushi-making supplies)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 or more hot green chiles, finely minced (I like this very spicy, so I usually use 2 or 3. If you have a group with mixed tolerance for heat, you can pass extra minced chilies on the side.)
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • pinch ground asafetida (optional - you can find this at Indian markets)
  • 10 whole fenugreek seeds (you can find them at Indian markets)
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, minced

Boil the potatoes in a big pot until fork tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, mix together the chiles, salt, lime juice, sesame seeds, and the sesame oil in a large bowl. This will be the dressing.

In a small skillet, heat a little oil. When hot, toss in the asafetida and fenugreek. They will sizzle and darken. As soon as they darken, toss them into the bowl with the dressing. Stir the cilantro into the dressing. Taste for salt, sour, heat, etc.

When the potatoes are done, drain and peel if desired. Cut into chunks while hot and toss with the dressing. This is best eaten after it's had a few hours to sit. It holds for several days, but may need a spritz of lime juice to freshen it up.

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