Aloo Kachalu Recipe, Sweet Potato Salad:
Aren’t potatoes the first thing that come to mind when one can’t decide what to cook or the kids want a quick snack or simply when the heart craves soft, warm, gooey comfort? I haven’t met a potato dish yet that I didn’t like, unless of course it’s bland and someone forgot to season it.
This aloo Kachalu recipe for chaat/savoury snack takes things up a notch, it combines the goodness of potatoes, sweet potatoes and bananas with tang from lemon and tamarind, and a huge kick of flavour from spices and fresh herbs. It is really the simplest thing to put together but is mega delicious.
Potatoes have a bad reputation as a fattening food but in fact they are a great source of vitamin C, thiamine and niacin as are sweet potatoes. These vegetables make a filling, delicious and healthy meal if not deep fried. They do not cause blood sugar spike because their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream.
Bananas are also an instant source of energy with easy to digest carbohydrates that make it a great snack when one is feeling low on energy. We must realise that carbohydrates in unprocessed form are not bad. Our body needs carbohydrates for energy and brain fuel. We just need to choose good carbohydrates, like the ones in this salad.
Aloo (potatoes) and Kachalu (sweet potatoes or yam) are boiled and then lightly sautéed with cumin and red chilli peppers. Some recipes skip this step but I love how stir frying them adds a crispy outer layer and firms their texture. The pickled ginger on top not only adds a zing but helps with the digestion too.
In some areas of the region, specially Sind, instead of sweet potatoes Kachalu is another name for colocasia or arvi which is a potato like vegetable. There they make similar recipe using colocasia.
1 sweet potato
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 inch piece ginger
A small bunch coriander leaves
A handful mint leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 dry red chilli pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
This Is What You Do:
While the potatoes and sweet potatoes are cooking, peel and thinly slice ginger, cut into fine strips.
Drizzle half of lemon juice over julienned ginger. Set aside.
Peel and slice bananas into thick 1/2 inch pieces.
Add banana slices to a big mixing bowl. Drizzle the remaining lemon juice over them to keep them from discolouring. Toss to mix.
Heat oil in a frying pan, add cumin seeds and red chilli pepper. Sauté for a few seconds.
Add potato and sweet potato cubes. Continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes or till the potato and sweet potato pieces are slightly golden on outside.
Add salt, red chilli powder and black pepper. Don’t stir, toss to mix or the potato pieces will get mashed up. Allow to cool down to room temperature.
Add to the banana bowl. Add chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves. Again toss to mix. Check for the balance of seasoning.
Add tamarind paste. And garnish with pickled ginger on top.
Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.