Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Early Indian Summer

Insalata di Patate Dolce & Pomodoro con i Spezie Indiani
Indian Spiced Sweet Potato & Tomato Salad

It's trying to be Summer here... and it might actually start getting there slowly by the weekend apparently... but for now- it's just not quite getting there. It is already mid June and it is feeling vaguely like Spring, sigh! That's kinda sad... but in anticipation, I still like to try to come up with some alternative and interesting Summer dishes- and this was a nice one this evening!

Potato salad is a Summer favorite- whether it be a mayonnaise-type of affair or a more traditional oil and vinegar dressing, like those that I prefer. At the same time, you all know me well enough by now- and you know I am not going to present the kind of dishes to you that you are already familiar with- oh no, no, no! Different is always the order of the day! So tell me- how does this idea here grab you?

So, first things first- this is not an Indian dish- it is my creation, made using Indian spices! So as well as being made of sweet potato, this was a rather different affair than the usual, stodgy, calorific catastrophe that is the mayonnaise salad and I started off making it by dicing the sweat potato and steaming it on one saucepan,  whilst getting a fine dice of bacon sizzling in a dry non-stick frying pan. 

To the bacon I added a little finely chopped ginger, some fennel seeds and coarse dice of red pepper. After 3-4 minutes, the bacon had coated everything with it's flavorful fat and reduced the need to add any extra oil at this point. And after 5 minutes of steaming, the sweet potato was half-cooked and ready to add to the bacon. I stirred the sweet potato in well and made sure to keep it moving around in the pan, so that it had a chance to slightly brown but not burn!

After 2-3 minutes in the frying pan, I added the Indian spices, which were in this case, for a half of a large sweet potato, 1 tablespoon of Chaat masala and one of Garam masala. I stirred this, together with salt and pepper of course, in with the tomatoes and added 4-5 halved cherry tomatoes. Wow! What wonderful aromas! I sure do love cooking!

Next, I added 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and when that was stirred in well and the frying pan was looking rather dry, the juice of a whole lime and enough boiling water to cover the base of the pan. Of course, what happened next was that there was a loud "Hisss!" and a cloud of steam... but the pan became nicely deglazed, all of the good flavors came together and of course the sweet potato had a final chance to cook through and through. At this point I added a finely sliced Spring onion and a good pinch of parsley and cilantro- and turned off the heat. The finishing touch to my salad was a little olive oil, a pinch of sugar and a sprinkled of green Tabasco. Once last stir, then on went the lid and and all that I needed to do was wait a while until it had cooled down and was a nice eating temperature and the good part about that is that the flavors intensify and become better with time!

I would love to tell you how good this tasted nicely chilled, the day after... but alas- it didn't make it that far! I ate it all up right then and there! You give it a god, give it a taste... and you will know why! Enjoy!

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