Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baby Potatoes in a tomato sauce

Whatever my parents did or did not do, they did do one thing definitely right. Never was I made to feel in words or action that there was something I could not do because I was female. DH of course has his opinions on many other things they did wrong but we won't go there now. They pretty much let me do most reasonable things I wanted to. I know for sure not everyone was that lucky. A few incidents now and then will pique my interest in the subject and make me think of my upbringing.

When Larry Summers made the infamous speech about the inability of women to excel in science and math, naturally I was turned off but started to wonder if there was any truth to it. If indeed this was probably true, a smart thing for me would be not to drive DDs to excel in math or science. Why fight something that was never intended to be. Often repeated statements like "she reads and writes so well, but of course she is a girl, they are very good at that" and "he is so quick in math and can fix anything, see he is a boy" while stereotypical have programmed parents to parent a girl and boy in certain ways, though I would suspect mostly unconsciously. I have no way of testing for myself I only have 2 of the same kind but those who have a boy and girl may be you can do a test on yourself to find out.

When I came across a review for the book Pink Brain Blue Brain by Lise Eliot in Newsweek I was intrigued enough to buy it. It is not a fun book to read but was well worth the time spent. It offers enough scientific basis to dispel myths about the innate differences between boys and girls. Nurture more than nature plays a very important role in determining outcomes. The male and female brain do not come programmed with any predetermined behaviors. Most of it learned. We all know that culture, family circumstances, expectations all play a role in determining what becomes of those pink and blue babies. Also it is easy to forget the difficulties that parents whose babies do not fall into these neat stereotypes face everyday.

Parents would do better by encouraging pink babies to excel in math and science, be active and do intricate fixing with their hands. They sure can do it. As for the blue babies reading and talking to them as much as possible while encouraging them to read, write and draw will do a world of good. These sure are skills that they can learn and excel just like their pink counterparts have learned to do skillfully.

Moving on to the recipe,

If I come across a recipe with potatoes I never bookmark them, I try them out almost immediately and that is what I did when I saw this recipe. Looked fantastic and as for the recipe nothing can be simpler than that.

Did you know that star anise is the main ingredient in tamiflu? My mother gave me a recipe and mentioned the fact. The last few days the fever has been doing the rounds in our house. So the addition of star anise in this recipe is because of that but it did give a very pleasant aroma and added to the taste.

Baby Potatoes in tomato sauce
1. 15 baby potatoes scrubbed cleaned, boiled, peeled, pricked with a fork and set aside
2. 3 roma tomatoes chopped roughly - 1 1/2 cups worth
3. 2 tbsp red onion chopped fine
4. 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
5. seasonings : cumin seeds, curry leaves
6. 1/2 tamarind pulp from a small lime sized tamarind
7. 4 garlic cloves toasted slightly in oil
8. salt to taste
9. 2 tsp oil

To blend
1. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
2. 2 tsp cumin seeds
3. 1 star anise

Powder the above first and then add the toasted garlic cloves and chopped tomatoes and make a smooth paste.

1. In a wide mouthed pan heat oil and add the cumin seeds and curry leaves
2. Add the onion and saute till they are brown.
3. Add the tomato mixture, tamarind pulp and let it cook for 10-15 minutes till the raw smell from the tomatoes is completely gone.
4. Now add the potatoes, salt and coriander leaves and mix so they are well coated and let cook for 5-8 minutes.

Serve with chapatis or rice.


  1. Now this is making me reaaaalllllly hungry & I want my aloo with some Luchi;-) this is just so perfect with luchi.

    Didn't know that star anise is in Tamiflu! Hope you guys are okay.. doesn't sound like too much fun Indhu.

    I do not have brothers or boy cousin and I have 2 girls... so here it is all girls rule, math or reading;-)

  2. I have always enjoyed reading your opinions on various subjects, which on most occasions I have agreed with what you say.
    My parents are the same too, Never was my sister and myself made to feel we were girls. I do the same to my daughter too.

    Love the potato masala.

  3. That's a great-looking curry! Have never really believed girls do less better at maths and science, but wonder if those preferences are driven by circumstances

  4. Love the look of those potatoes. It is time for baby potatoes to make their appearence here ... am so making these soon. :-)
    Loved your write up too. :-)

  5. I had experienced the discriminaiton when doing household chores. But if we dare to do something there were no refusals ! I am lucky too. I am not with the maths-are-for-boys concept as you know Sakunthala who is a mathmetic genius ! I can't pick many an instances but most of my male friends are poor at maths :( I had read about the recipe in nag's blog and u'rs looks so very impressive! That soft roti is calling me to pick up the plate!

  6. Slurp!!! lipsmacking dish..

  7. Soma, yes they would taste great with luchis. I grew up with a brother and sorrounded by only boy cousins :( My prayers have been answered!

    Cilantro, yes of course and I do value your opinions. That is the way it should be, encourage girls to do everything that is within the realm of possibility.

    Sra, most definitely, circumstances and environment play a very important role and to a large extent sadly the media which perpetuates stereotypes. The author of the book says, the much touted study about the difference in male and female brains was based on studying exactly 14 brains! And most studies that find commonality between the sexes are rarely published because there is nothing sensational there to sell.

    Sharmila I don't have to bet but you will love these.

    Nirmala, absolutely true about household chores. I was just thinking substituting eggs for potatoes might work great too.

    Priya, absolutely.

  8. Yummy baby potatoes.... I bet, it gives an edge to the hungry belly, accompanying the rotis...


  9. It was good to grow up in a home where we were expected to do our own thing, our way.

    New potatoes will be in the market soon, and I am going to cook them like this! i have star anise for a while ago that I can't figure out what to use it in. Ek panth, do kaj!

  10. The baby potatoes look absolutely gorgeous.

    All that girl-boy thing is too much hyped here. While in India everyone is supposed to be great only if they do math & science alone, here they have brought in a new angle.

    Strangely the corporate world here has a high percentage of females in business side than technical. But who said business didn't require math ?

    Let the kids do what ever they like, all we can/should do is guide them.

  11. I am from a family of three girls, and i think it is far better to have girls than boys.
    Ofcourse lot of ppl might disagree with me ;-)
    Love the potatoes made like this.
    Just that i don't make here, if i make a potato dish with roties my hubby things it is not a meal.
    Now who said men are more clever than us :-)

  12. Thanks for trying this :) Super glad you liked them!

  13. I somehow feel that females could not do this or that, that was pretty much in the past. Now it is different. I think males and females are more or less on the same levels. Lets not forget India did have a Female Prime Minister.
    Coming to your recipe. Can we use canned baby Potatoes. The recipe is simple which means it is on on kitchen counter and I shall be cooking it very soon.

  14. though i grew up with two brothers but my parents never differentiated between us. we all were given equal opportunities and then it was upto us how we used them. and thats the factor.I dont know about US but in India mostly girls are deprived of opportunites.

    I love baby potatoes...especially with luchi. my husband doesn't like the strong smell of star anise but i love the aroma. hope this fact will make him eat it.
    Get well soon Indhu. just love your posts on different subjects.

  15. Looks truly delicious, ISG!I love baby potatoes..Even with a Math background and doing reasonably well in every exam, I often wonder if there IS a diff b/w girls' and boys' ability with math or science!

  16. Really star anise in Tamiflu? Did not know that. I took it recently for my flu and that made a huge difference. Potatoe dish look delioucs.

  17. I'm with you, I am baffled with the girl brain boy brain thing and am really glad my parents raised their two girls with the firm belief that anyone can do anything as long as they work hard at it.

    The baby potatoes look so good! I'll have to try this recipe for a special occasion.

  18. I've missed many of your posts during my vacation... so glad to catch up on all those now. The dish looks soooooo good, esp. with those oh-so-soft looking rotis.

    girl brain, boy brain - I agree that the nurture plays more in it than nature. [beautiful words, btw!]

  19. That must be tangy, spicy & delicious.

  20. Kay, missed you, so happy to see you. Did you have a great time back home. I bet you did! How about little M?

  21. We both had a lovely time, Indo.. :) Didn't have the heart to come back.


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