Leftover Makover: Roasted Potatoes Transformed into Aloo Methi Tamatar

As the recession deepens and food prices creep upwards, it behooves everyone to make our best efforts to avoid wasting food. That means either learning how to cook exactly how much you need for a given meal, or saving and -actually eating- any leftovers you produce.

If you are like me, you probably save every bit of leftovers with full intentions to eat them, but then forget about them. Or, we eat them for a couple of days and then get sick of the same thing over and over and over, and then never want to eat whatever it is again.

But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

With a few spices, some pantry items and some ingenuity, we can transform leftovers into completely new and interesting dishes.

So today, I am unveiling a new series of posts which I will do whenever I come up with new ways with leftovers, entitled, “Leftover Makeover.”

This first post shows how to transform plain roasted baby potatoes into a delicious curried potato, fenugreek and tomato dish, Aloo Methi Tamatar.

All that is required to makeover plain roasted potatoes into a curried delight are canola oil, onions, garlic, fresh ginger, dried fenugreek leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chili flakes, canned tomatoes and salt.

All of these items live in my pantry anyway–and if you don’t have some of them, you will probably be okay changing the recipe to suit what you do have. For example, if you have no turmeric, but you do have curry powder, use that. If you don’t have dried fenugreek greens–though they are inexpensive to buy in Indian grocery stores, and if double wrapped in ziplock bags and kept in the freezer, they will stay fresh for a very long time–you could use fresh cilantro instead. Just take the “methi” out of the name of the dish, since methi means fenugreek. You could use ground cumin and mustard seed if you want, but they taste better as whole seeds.

And, of course, if it is summer, you can use fresh tomatoes and fresh methi or cilantro from your garden or farmer’s market.

This would be great with rice and some kind of dal–rajma dal or butternut squash dal would be great with this– for an inexpensive, delicious, very nutritious vegan meal–one that vegans, vegetarians and omnivores can all enjoy.

And, if you don’t eat all of the potatoes as a curry, take them and use them the next morning with eggs as an Indian Frittata.

Aloo Methi Tamatar
Ingredients:

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
4 cups leftover roasted potatoes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2″ cube fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 tablespoons dried methi leaves, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
salt to taste

Method:

Heat the canola oil in a heavy-bottomed large skillet over medium high heat. Spread onions into a thin layer on the bottom of the pan and cook, stirring, until the onions are a deep golden color. Add potatoes, garlic, ginger, and stir well to combine and cook until the garlic and ginger are golden and the onions are a deep reddish brown.

Remove methi leaves from water and squeeze out excess from leaves. Sprinkle into pan with the turmeric, and cumin and mustard seeds. Cook, stirring, until mustard seeds pop. Add the soaking water and stir to combine well.

Turn heat down to low and add tomatoes.

Cook, stirring as needed, until most of the liquid is cooked away (this is a fairly dry curry) away and the flavors have had a chance to combine well–about twenty to thirty minutes. Add salt to taste and stir well.

11 Comments

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  1. Yum! That’s all I’m saying!

    Comment by Maninas — February 17, 2009 #

  2. I love this post! Leftovers get wasted a lot less here since I have become more creative. Leftover veggies become frittatas and omelets, leftover pork roast becomes posole(a quick and dirty, yet very tasty one), leftover chicken becomes enchiladas, rice stuffs veggies, you get the idea. Yum! It’s the only way my fam will eat leftovers.

    Comment by gretchen — February 17, 2009 #

  3. Who ever has leftover roasted potatoes?!? ;) They are always the first thing to go.

    Seriously, this looks very yummy–and so I might need to just make it from scratch. Next you might consider what to do with leftover soups. That is my curse–we eat them for 2, maybe 3 nights, and then it is just as you said….

    Comment by Laura — February 17, 2009 #

  4. Potatoes never go to waste in my house! In fact, I like them so much that I seldom have leftovers. In an effort to be frugal, I’m even using the outer leaves of lettuce and other odd vegetable bits when I make stock. In fact, I made a marvelous stock and then, used odd bits of peas, carrots and some celery to make a great soup — but your ideas are the best.

    Comment by Nancy — February 18, 2009 #

  5. Love it, and I think your new series is exciting! Like you, I keep stuff and then suddenly don’t want the same thing anymore (although very often we eat it anyway, because I just can’t waste food, recession or not). So I’m really looking forward to learning some of your transformation magic:)

    Comment by Mamlambo — February 18, 2009 #

  6. Looks like a great recipe. But count me in with the folks who never need to get rid of leftover roasted potatoes.

    I guess I just don’t have the same aversion to leftovers that a lot of people have. I don’t mind at all if I eat the same thing over and over again – as long as it’s good. And if it’s not good (like the Brussels sprouts I got a few weeks ago and accidentally overcooked to the point of mushiness), I doubt that any leftover makeover can save it.

    Comment by Johanna — February 18, 2009 #

  7. Just when I stocked fenugreek seeds, now, I have a need for leaves! Do you think my seeds would sprout? Has anyone tried to do that? Are they husked and polished and beaten to death so they wouldn’t sprout? Shall we try?

    Comment by Jumper — February 18, 2009 #

  8. Jumper, indeed they will sprout.

    Here is a link to a blog post from my friend Indira’s blog, Mahanandi which explains the whole process, with pictures:

    http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2006/04/?p=408

    It’s really easy to do–I have done it myself.

    Comment by Barbara — February 18, 2009 #

  9. Barbara, I’m so happy you’re back to blogging! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to open my RSS reader and see a new T&S post. But seriously, “Hillbilly Fried Rice” has become a staple in my house thanks to its magical leftovers-transforming powers, so I’m understandably excited about this new regular feature! :)

    Speaking of sprouts, I keep finding myself having started a batch of radish, or broccoli, or bean or whatever sprouts and not having a clue what to do with them once they’ve grown. Any ideas?

    Comment by Rae — February 19, 2009 #

  10. Barbara, I’m so happy you’re back to blogging! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to open my RSS reader and see a new T&S post. But seriously, “Hillbilly Fried Rice” has become a staple in my house thanks to its magical leftovers-transforming powers, so I’m understandably excited about this new regular feature! :)

    And speaking of sprouts, I keep finding myself having started a batch of radish, or broccoli, or bean or whatever sprouts and not having a clue what to do with them once they’ve grown. Any ideas?

    Comment by Rae — February 19, 2009 #

  11. I have no idea what “methi” is or where I could get some…but the rest of that recipe sounds completely irresistible. I plan to try this as soon as I can. Many thanks for a great recipe.

    Comment by Jim Boelter — February 24, 2009 #

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