As I am in the mood to share some of my sister’s trademark recipes and our family’s all time favourite dishes here is the next recipe that came to mind. This is an old classic Pakistani style of mashed potatoes and is the absolute first thing my sister ever cooked. It was almost a momentous occasion etched in our memories of her coming of age. She researched the recipe, got and prepared all the ingredients and cooked it to perfection all by herself but under the watchful eye of our mom. She made this recipe to complete a graded assignment for her Home Economics class. Needless to say she got an A+ and we had her make it so many times that eventually we all got sick of it, especially her 🤣
On a lazy and cold afternoon, I was racking my brain to come up with a dinner for Mr. Mazhar and myself and I had an epiphany to make aaloo ka bhorta – the desi name of mashed potatoes. It starts out like ordinary mashed potatoes by boiling the potatoes till soft but the Pakistani twist is the tempering mixture we blend in with the potatoes. Read on and all will be explained.
- 1/2 kg medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
- a pot of water, enough to cover the potatoes
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3 green chillies, de-seeded and finely sliced
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1-1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 bunch coriander, finely chopped (for garnish)
- In a large stock pot place the potatoes and fill it with enough water to cover the potatoes and place on a high flame to bring the water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and cook till a knife inserted in the center of the potato goes through easily.
- Transfer the softened potatoes to a sieve to drain off the water and cool down a little. Once cool enough to handle, mash the potatoes by hand. The aim here is have small chunks of potatoes in the mix for texture, we don’t want a smooth mash.
- In another pot heat the oil and add in the onions. Cook them till light golden and slightly crispy , then add in the tomatoes, green chillies and spices. Cook the mixture till the tomatoes have softened and released their juice. Now add in the mashed potatoes, till heated through and mixed well.
- Now it’s a balancing act to get the seasoning just perfect for your palate. A little salty and little tangy with the lemon juice. Once you are happy with the taste transfer the bhorta into your serving dish and garnish with chopped coriander and some more green chilies if you prefer things spicy. Dinner is ready.
You can have this as a vegetarian main or a side dish. I made it with mince beef and had it with roti. You can eat it with naan and parathas as well. Do give this classic Pakistani comfort food a try and tell me how you like it. Happy cooking everyone.