This dish can be prepared both as a dry dish and as a shaak or a gravy based one.
Having spent some years in Gujarat , I have practically grown up eating hot phulkas, rotlas and shaaks of many types. using different veggies, but the potato based one wins hands down every time.
This dish can be had with plain rice, curd and papad too besides a great accompaniment for pooris.
In the recipe given below, am giving two choices, one using tamarind and skipping using tomatoes , and the other option is to use freshly cut tomatoes, or tomato puree and skipping tamarind.
Usually both methods are used now a a days depending on availability of ingredients.
As Gujarati cuisine is usually recognized by the use of a little jaggery in most dishes, here also it is used. As n a very small piece. How ever it can be skipped completely as some people do not like the sweet, sour, spicy taste of the dish.
Whichever way, do not hesitate to make this dish as you can see it uses such simple everyday ingredients in the pantry and the potato is invariably found in all kitchen baskets.
Add some oil in a heated pan and when the oil is hot, crackle the mustard seeds and sizzle the cumin-seeds.Add the red chillies also. Add the turmeric powder, asafoetida powder,and the peeled cubed potatoes.
Add tomato puree or fresh chopped tomatoes and salt, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, around 1 1/2 cups water and cook on a medium flame.
Cover with a lid and cook for few minutes till the potatoes are cooked tender.
3 or 4 medium size potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes peeled or unpeeled is ok
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 small dry red chilli
Pinch of turmeric powder
Pinch of Asafoetida powder/hing
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder/ Kashmiri chili powder gives a great colour
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Salt – to taste
Water – 11/2 cup or 2 cups if you want a little watery gravy.
Pinch of jaggery ( optional ) Tamarind paste – 1 teaspoon
Few chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnishing.
1 tbsp tamrind paste or squeezed tamarind water.
You can use tomato puree too if you like instead of tamarind.I have used tomatoes, around 3 small ones.
Heat the oil in a pan , crackle mustard seeds when oil is heated, then add the cumin seeds, it will start sizzling.
Add the 2 dry red chillies.It will crisp nicely, then add the asafoetida powder,and turmeric powder.
Now add the cubed potatoes. and toss well , let it coat with the spices added.
Add coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder and salt.
Keep stirring so that now all the spices will coat the potatoes.
Add 1 or 2 cups of water so that the potatoes will cook.
Cover the pan and Stir in between.
Check to see that there is enough water and potatoes do not stick to the pan.
When the potatoes are tender mash a few pieces with the back of the ladle, to thicken the gravy. Add water if the gravy turns dry.
At this stage add the jaggery and the tamarind paste also.
Stir the gravy well and and let it boil. Adjust the gravy consistency as per your liking.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
This dish wil taste spicy, tangy and also a little sweet.This is how the shaak is typically made in Gujarat.
Chop 3 small tomatoes instead of using tamarind and add it to the potatoes while it is cooking, you will get a deep red colour and also the tang of the tomatoes wil be tasty.
In my recipe I used tomatoes, instead of tamarind, to get the rich colour of the gravy and also to thicken it.
If you do not have fresh tomatoes, tomato puree will work fine too. Rest all ingredients will be the same.