Sunday, August 12, 2012

Masala Potatoes with Green Beans

There is one thing that is common in doctors offices in the US and India. What you ask? It is the waiting part. You sit around till your bum hurts and you are restless wondering why in the world the doctor's office can't schedule these thing correctly. But the similarity ends there.

We had gone to a dentist in India and waited around for 2 hours before the doctor finally saw us. A very pleasant and perfectly good doctor, known to the family she refused to collect fees. something that will happen only in India. The good thing for the patient is there is no time restrictions, no office times, no Saturday only sick patients, Sunday holiday kind of rules. The patient will be seen as long as the doctor is in the office. For those of us with family members as doctors know what this does to the doctor. They get home in the middle of the night and get pulled at all odd times. But as a patient you are able to meet the doctor any time of the day.

Contrast this to the US where the cost of care is several times higher and the doctor's office has so many rules that it is perhaps best to keep yourself armed with a manual. Add to this the rules by schools and colleges who require doctors signatures on forms before permitting the students to attend classes or participate in sports. August gets to be as stressful as it possibly can be.

DD shows up for tryouts at her school minus the doctor form. She had been away and the doctors appointment was a few days away. The coach refuses to let her tryout without the form. The doctor's office (the same doctor she has been seeing from when she born) refuses to sign the form because her most recent physicals were a little over a year old. The nurse also got a little nasty when I told her she was away and we could not schedule the appointment on time. She says in a high pitch voice that it is not their fault of course not, I did not suggest that.

Bottom line they refused to sign the form (which is very uncomplicated, just requires a few vitals that is all). The reason too few doctors and nurses and Saturday is just for sick patients. All this while there were barely any patients and the doctor was sitting around clicking on his blackberry. The thing could have been done in 5 minutes they would have had a very happy customer. Well this is the USA after all stickler for rules with nasty front office staff. What was I thinking, having lived here this long I should have known how things work. It was recent India visit that made even try methinks.

They helpfully suggest a walk in clinic, which I was already planning on if the doctor's office threw up it's usual road blocks. I knew this would happen and hence the plan B, just that the walk-in clinic opened a little later or we would have gone there in the first place.

The actual process took exactly 5 minutes but we still had to sit around for an hour. I have no problem sitting in the waiting room were there is something to look at at least. The bad part is when they lock us in the examination room and we have to keenly wait for the foot steps of the doctor to approach when mercifully this whole wait would be over. I usually feel like a prisoner who has no way out.

All is well that ends well. Whenever I make a trip to India and back I seriously miss the personal contacts that is possible there while here it is machines(pun fully intended) that we deal with.

Now to the recipe and it is a winner. No plan B required.
I turn to potatoes when I have run out of ideas or have a masala that I want to try out. This masala is nothing fancy but it would work great with meat as well as vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower or dried beans. I added green beans with this recipe for the crunch.

Masala Potatoes with Green Beans
1. 4 Medium sized potatoes, peeled cut and par boiled with salt till they are just about done
2. 1 cup of chopped green beans
3. 1/2 cup onions cut lengthwise
4. seasonings: mustard seeds and cumin
5. 2-3 tsp turmeric powder
6. salt to taste
7. 2-3 tbsp of chopped tomatoes

For the Paste
1. 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped red onions
2. 3-4 cloves of garlic
3. 1 inch piece of ginger
4. 5 red chilies
5. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
6. 1 tsp cumin seeds

Roast the above 4-6 in a tsp of oil. Remove to the blender jar. Saute the onions,ginger and garlic till the onions start to turn brown. Cool and blend to a smooth paste.

1. In a wide mouthed saute pan heat oil and add the seasonings, followed by the onions and saute till they are translucent.
2. Add in the tomatoes and let them saute till they turn mushy.
3. Add the green beans and let them cook for 4-5 minutes. Add salt.
4. Add in the blended masala paste and saute for a couple of minutes.
5. Add in the cooked potatoes, gently mix the potatoes into the masala.
6. Let it saute for another 6-8 minutes till the potatoes are well coated. Check for salt and sprinkle some if needed.

Serve with any bread.

1. I had slightly overcooked the potatoes so they turned a bit mushy but this was actually good for eating with bread but if you were making it for rice or as a side dish keep the potatoes on the firm side so they saute and roast up nicely.


  1. Oooh, this looks fantastic! Love all the spices, and I think green beans and potatoes go really well together.

  2. The masala paste sounds wonderful.... my friend used to make something similar with potatoes, green beans and soya chunks... used to be my favorite.

  3. Hi there, Just wanted to let you know that I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was fantastic! Amazing flavor - loved all the spices, and the combo of the potatoes and green beans was really good. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

    1. Thanks Sara for giving the recipe a try and I am so happy you liked it. And I am really grateful for coming back and giving feedback.


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