Batata rassa (Potatoes in curried gravy)

People deal with stress in different ways. I have a few friends who splurge on chocolates or sweets when they are stressed, then there are others who go nuts for snacks and still a few others (and now the pie-chart is dwindling) who work-out a lot or take walks during lunch-time to beat the stress. I have never been a sweets person (note the 's' in sweets, less you would think I am not a sweet person :D) I rarely if ever crave anything sweet and I like dark chocolate but don't really crave it either. For me it has always been savory comfort food from my child-hood which acts as an instant stress-buster.

It is unfair how a few regional cuisines (like Maharashtra for example) are just so absent in the array of cuisines featured under the global "Indian cuisines" tag. Even in the heart of the bay area, there is hardly any restaurant which serves authentic Marathi food that I can turn to. Anyway, so as a result of a few stressful work weeks, I have been craving and cooking a lot more that usual Marathi food at home, which is why you would likely see a larger share of Marathi recipes on this space, just in case you were wondering :)

Today's recipe is batata rassa or curried potatoes. Batata =potatoes and rassa=gravy. The one unique touch that makes it Marathi for me is the addition of Goda masala. This is a spice blend common to Marathi cuisine made out of coriander, cumin, sesame seeds, coconut powder and a few other spices. I have never tried to make it at home but thats just because my Mom is really good about sending me a couple of packets of our favorite brand of goda masala every so often that I never seem to run out of it. If you can't find goda masala, feel free to substitute with garam masala; it would still be very tasty, but perhaps won't be equally reminiscent of those idle school nights sitting around the dining table savoring batata rassa with the freshest fulka and nothing else to worry about except perhaps a Biology homework so something silly like that.... whenever did life get so complicated ;)

Recipe: Batata rassa
Serves 6 (or 4 starving)
1 medium onion - finely chopped
6-7 small garlic cloves - smashed
4 medium sized tomatoes - finely chopped
2 medium sized russet potatoes - cubed
3C water
1/4tsp red chili powder
1tsp kala masala/goda masala (or substitute with 1/2tsp garam masala)
1tsp coriander powder
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
1/4tsp turmeric powder
1Tbsp vegetable oil
chopped cilantro - to garnish

  1. Heat 1Tbsp oil in a pan. When the oil is hot temper with mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add cumin seeds.
  2. Add chopped onions and saute until onions start to brown.
  3. Add chopped garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add 2 of the 4 chopped tomatoes and saute until oil starts to separate.
  5. Add turmeric powder and chopped potatoes. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add 3C water (or more needed to make the desired gravy consistencies).
  7. Season with salt and let the curry come to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 15mins or so until potatoes are tender to your preference.
  9. Add rest of the spices (coriander powder, goda masala, chili powder) and remaining 2 chopped tomatoes.
  10. Stir well and turn the heat off.
  11. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with some hot chapati, naan or middle-eastern flat-breads.