Potato and Rutabaga Curry

Rutabaga gets a bad name.  Too many people ignore this nutritious and inexpensive root vegetable in favour of the milder tasting turnip.  The trick with rutabaga is a deep peel and a bold sauce.  This quick curry, loosely based on the Turnips with Cumin from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking is a good introduction for the rutabaga-reticent.

Yield: 6 servings as a side dish

What you need:

  • 1-1/2 lb rutabaga (about 3 small), peeled deeply (get rid of the peel and the outer flesh – the one that’s coloured differently from the inner flesh) and cut into 1/2” dice
  • 1 lb golden-fleshed potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1” dice
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 cup unsalted crushed tomatoes (home-canned preferred)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon hing (asafoetida, powdered not lump – or if you have lumps, grind them to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chiles
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

What you do:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the besan with a couple of tablespoons of the water until the mixture is smooth.  Whisk in the crushed tomatoes, remaining water and salt.  Set aside to thicken slightly.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium or large-sized saucepan.  Add the hing and let it sizzle a few seconds then add the cumin and mustard seeds.  Cover the pot and let the mustard seeds pop, this won’t take long, 10-15 seconds.
  3. Uncover and add the chiles.  Let them blacken a few seconds and then add the turnip, potatoes, turmeric, and reserved tomato mixture.  Mix well and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot, turn the heat down and simmer 15-20 minutes, until the rutabaga is tender.  If the mixture begins to stick, feel free to add an extra tablespoon of water or two.  There should be a thick sauce clinging to the vegetables when it’s done.
  5. Serve with rice or quinoa and a bean dish for a complete meal.

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