Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lessons from a Spud

It’s funny how some pretty common dishes escape your notice. Even now, despite the blogs. You think you’ve invented, innovated, tweaked, customized but there always seems to be a post somewhere that’s beaten you to it. Not that it’s a race, but that oh so slight sense of the smug rapidly melts away as a search throws up at least 20 variations in the first few pages.

I did that with a beetroot chutney. I saw my friend’s grandmother make it and marveled at her inventiveness. A few years later, it emerged from my mixer and uploaded itself on to my computer. Waiting for its moment in the sun, it found itself among a rash … er … slew of beetroot chutneys that populated the blogs in close succession. As this blog has often told whomsoever it may concern, it will only carry recipes that the writer finds unusual or unprecedented – that doesn’t exclude those that are a discovery to her but routine to others – but it’s no fun when they abound.

So why is she posting this confessionist, self-deprecating piece? Obviously, she’s never been on Oprah, let alone a chat show, but could that be all? Or is it that she slaved over this photo as well, decorated it with borders and scripts and was pleased with the result. Bad enough that it didn’t have the mild, mellow taste she expected it would have. Worse that it tasted like some other chutney altogether. Then why?

For one, with her avowed intention of not wasting anymore, and in her perpetual quest for novelty, she put it to use which she thought was rather a first. That’s one reason – if you have too much mashed potato left over, this is one solution.

Second, though she didn’t like the texture, or the combination, others did. And let it sit in the fridge till they finished every soured blob of it.

Third, because this is a blog not just about the victoires and the histoires but about a slice of life as well.

And, of course, it’s been ages, or it feels like ages, since she’s posted something on her blog. So here’s to the humble, humbling, potato raita.

Potato, boiled and mashed: 1, big
Curds/yoghurt: 1-2 cups, beaten (go by the amount of mashed potato, and whether you want a runny raita or a thick one)
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Cumin seed: ½ tsp
Salt, to taste
Coriander, chopped: A little, to garnish
Savoury mint chutney, Indian style: 1 tsp (optional)
Oil: 1 tsp

Mix the mashed potato with the mint chutney.

Add it to the curds.

Season with the salt.

Heat the oil, pop the mustard and then the cumin. Add this to the curds.

Garnish with the coriander.

Another raita recipe here.

This goes to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Pille of Nami-Nami.


  1. And of course another reason to post it is that what may seem very common to you isn't common at all to some other person. I am always learning more from the various blogs I read, and although I had a vague idea what raita was, I didn't know at all about this version, so great post!

  2. Your post made me chuckle ;). I love aloo in any form, and raita is one of the best ways to enjoy the spud!

  3. honestly..i was just thinking today morning to email u and ask u what's keeping u from posting anything girl!! me..same here, i make something i think is innovative..take photos like a fashion photographer (all sides..u know) and someone has already posted it and their photo is much more better than mine....maybe i will post the recipe anyway next time..than just pressing delete!!

  4. Hey, I too love the look of that raita quite a lot...and of course the prelude.

  5. :) You always make me smile with your posts Sra... First of all, I totally agree, beautiful picture, however bad it tasted the pic is worth the post.. and looks like everyone else loved it, so it can't have been that bad :)

  6. SHE has got a good Idea on leftover mashed potato..;D

  7. Interesting use of mashed potatoes - they are rather versatile. And lovely photo.
    It is rather disappointing when we make something we expect to be wonderful and it isn't...even if everyone else thinks so. I guess, in the end, we cook for ourselves....
    I don't enjoy making foods I don't like (although, I do!)

  8. Sra, I think most of us have these experiences, but just b/c others may have been there and done that, doesn't mean it's not new and fun for you, and that it shouldn't be shared. Though I love raita, I've never heard of it w/ potatoes; now, that new to me, no matter who else blogs a similar recipe.

  9. Mmmm... Lovely -- the post and the recipe! ;-)


  10. Yummy Raita! SHE can make Potato soup too with leftover mashed spuds!!:)

  11. Sra!! What a way to spend my sunday afternoon, reading your post. You always make your reader smile with each and every post n drool over with every recipe!!I make potato in many many forms but never this way so i have bookmarked it!!

  12. That's a fascinating entry - thank you sha! Estonians eat lots of potatoes, and there's often leftovers - now I know what else to do with them!
    Hope you'll check out the WHB roundup tomorrow!

  13. Lovely! I love potato easy and delicious!! :) And i loved your write up :)

  14. lovely pic.. cool recipe :)

  15. Kalyn, I know. But there are v v few dishes that are common to me and unknown to others, from what I can make out, so I don't usually post them unless I would enjoy writing about them.
    Musical, actually, I suppose I've tasted a chaat-style raita, can't remember when I last had it, though.
    Rajita, your photos are a treat, old dish or new, pl continue to post them anyway
    Sunita, thanks.
    Sig, thanks, your comments always warm the cockles of my heart :)
    Raks, she thanks you.
    Katiez, come to think of it, I don't make anything I don't like, but I do leave out a few because The Spouse doesn't like it and I find it too much trouble to cook a load for myself and stash it in the fridge.
    Susan, thanks for that .
    Paz, thanks.
    Asha, yes! Soupy weather has just arrived, now I just need me some mashed potatoes.
    Padmaja, that's high praise, thank you.
    Pille, do Estonians eat yoghurt a lot too?
    Tee, thanks.
    Nags, thank you.

  16. Indianised spicy mashed potato, huh ?:) your intro notes were as usual funny :)

  17. Seriously. Every blogger should have had such days. You are not alone gal. Is that bowl tipping?

  18. Hey I have not seen a beetroot chutney or have I ? What keeps you from posting it ? Its your version I want to see so please go ahead and post.

    And potato raita, no i haven't seen it ever either (I have a bad memory anyway). Trust me there are people like me who can repost their own recipes twice and never know the difference so everything I see, I accept with wonder.

    Do do post all you have without even giving a thought to novelty, for there are morons like me in hundreds for sure (the next 15 commenters please support me)

  19. SRA.......Missed u.....loved the made me feel lighter.......A Lovely way to enjoy foods :-)

  20. Sra, I really relate to the opening of this post. I often go off checking for my "innovative" recipe on google before I dare put it up on my blog. And of course nowadays with plagarism so rampant, I wouldn't want to be accused of that! I was really excited about making squash halwa, till I found THAT everywhere ;)

    The Spud Lesson looks yummy :)

  21. Aww, you're being too hard on yourself. No matter how many other blogs have already posted what you think is your creation, it still remains your creation...and remember that saying about the many versions of the same recipe?

  22. Sra, so potato raita finally, picture chala bagundi, chala srama padinatu unnaru. meku mera sati leftovers antaru, extra stuff antaru, edi chesina final ga manchi output testaru so all is good

    which software did u use for the pic

  23. Shn, I suppose you could say that. :) Thanks
    Suganya, you noticed! That's one of my bought-for-the-blog dishes - bad idea, as I realised. It's a certain shape, but not ideal when you have spillable stuff.
    Sandeepa, your comment was so funny! Will do, thanks
    Sirisha, thanks. LOL to you're already feeling lighter ...
    Linda, yeah, plagiarism - what makes it different is our own notes, I think. And with our self-doubt, forget the scruples, I think it's hard to be accused of that!
    Nabeela, what saying is that? Will investigate.
    Sreelu, thanks a lot :) Picnik ani kotta online software, bagane undi, check it out.

  24. you are much too hard on yourself.
    you don't like this raita?
    never met a spud-version we didn't like... and this raota tops the list.
    the beetroot chutney...coming our way anytime soon ;)

  25. potato raita waw! never tried or tasted! sounds and looks so nice. will make them sometime:)

  26. alu raita goes well with any spicy meal, says me, an alu fan :) remember my ode to mr. potato ;)

  27. potatos are my fav i love your recipe

  28. What a great idea for leftover potato!! I normally make potato raita with cubes of boiled potato, but this must be infinitely more tasty.

  29. Sra, it is always a pleasure reading your blog.

  30. Cooker, the chutney's on!
    Sharmi, be my guest. And let me know what you think.
    Richa, I'll try it the classic way now!
    Sagari, welcome. and thanks.
    Mallika, I didn't much like it but the others did. :)

  31. Cynthia, thanks for that vote of affirmation! :)

  32. Sra, it doesn't matter if someone else has posted the same recipe. The point I was making earlier was what you write is still uniquely yours. The witty words, the tounge-in-cheek humor - no one can write like you, so doesn't matter if there is another spud raita out there. I will come back here to read the post and maybe use the recipe from somewhere else. :)

    BTW, we Maharashtrians make a banana raita the same way, sans the chutney.


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