The Talented Mr Potato

It all starts on Monday…Monday evening to be more precise. I, along with my shopping bag go for vegetable shopping. I really look forward to this day, why? Firstly, I get to see some vibrant veggies and fruits in the market. Secondly, my shopping bag gets happy to go out and meet new sets of veggie friends. Thirdly, the fridge is stacked with fruits and veggies and other edible things (it is an open invitation to my eyes and tummy both).

When I go shopping, there aren’t any specifications on my list (just for now). The moment I reach market, everything looks attractive and a small mundane activity turns into a meditative process.

Yes, there are certain things that find their way into my bag based on their vibrant colours but for the others I have to think of their purpose. Some of the picks that found its way into my bag this week were: green vibrant spinach (I didn’t bother much…big leaves, small leaves…made no difference), beautiful red tomatoes, light green cabbage, now if there was cabbage I thought I had to buy its brother cauliflower and if cauliflower was there I thought it would be unfair not to buy its sister broccoli, then some brightly shining purple egg plants…then there were some eye inviting oranges, a nice bunch of grapes and my lovable gorgeous red apples. These were absolutely unintentional buys.

Now, begins the meditative process…all the veggies would need onions (so there goes onions into the bag), how about some green chilles (I need that), some coriander leaves (just in case for some spicy chutney), some baby corns and corns (if I need those for Chinese cuisine), some ginger garlic, beetroots, turnip, beans and capsicums (for Chinese cooking…if I will make) and there comes my final pick…potatoes.

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Potatoes don’t come under my meditative shopping or attractive shopping…they just come with me whenever I go shopping for vegetables. The good thing is that I don’t have to worry about them…because they would be utilized in some or the other way, I’m sure about it. There is something about these potatoes; they are not attractive at all. I mean, they don’t were any colour; they are muddy that’s why the brown colour, but still my kitchen always has some space to share with this humble ingredient.

I find them absolutely humble in nature. You could do anything with them and they will still taste delicious. You don’t need to be a great cook to deal with them. When I’m too hungry and there is nothing, I just boil a few and have it with salt…yum. There are days when I just bake them…then on some occasions they are deep fried to take a golden colour…sometimes I follow the easy to cook method…boil and mash…other times they are added to a pot of veg or non veg casseroles and then there are days when I mix them with normal vegetables to enhance their taste and characteristic.

Well, this time I bought and had kept it in the kitchen. I felt like giving them a glamorous taste by making potato patties (aloo tikkas). So, I got into the preparation of it. I know it sounds very inviting and seems like too much work but let me assure you it is absolutely easy to make.

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The process begins with boiling a few potatoes and then mashing them nicely. Then they are spiced up with some salt, red chilly powder and coriander powder. Then some chopped onions and finely chopped ginger find their way into the bowl. They are mixed properly…then small round shaped patties are made and set on the tray…with some oil in the pan each patties are tossed and turned until golden brown or deep brown…well, I prefer them deep brown. Not too much of an effort you see, there it is on my plate…some coriander chutney to go with it and a gentle squeeze of lime to jazz up the dish…and my tummy is happy.

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Potatoes are my absolute savior, a must in the kitchen…when unexpected guests arrive… deep fry those and sprinkle some chaat masala and salt…with no other veggies (as fillings) you can mash or cube them and make puffs or stuffed parathas. To me, they are “The Talented Mr Potatoes yes, that’s true. That’s the name I’ve chose for them. As you can eat them as you like. You can find them throughout the year. The good thing is you don’t need to be a great or a good cook…all you need is- potatoes and some basic cooking techniques like boiling and frying (just that would do).

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Potatoes are dominant in the eating world…they always find their way in, not because of their looks but because of their taste; the taste which is colourless (just like water, I think) and takes the taste of whatever is added to it or to whatever it is added to.

Some varieties of this humble ingredient are:

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I’m happy for them, I hear you say, why.

Well for a good part of their life they don’t see sunshine, they don’t eat chlorophyll and hence are starved for the colour that its other counterparts take. To the contrary they are brown in colour, something your eyes would miss and be attracted to other colourful vegetables and fruits.

But then talk about getting treated equally, I think they get a fair share of treatment compared to others. There is always a potato in a chips slice; and there are many potatoes in a packet of “Lays Chips” that you hold and eat. Forget the children; there are some adults, that I know of, who would not eat bottle gourd or bitter gourd or even broccoli but give them a packet of chips and see for their reaction. They might say no to other things but ask them, “would you want some French fries?” The answer will always be a yes.

Can’t imagine a green or a purple potato sitting in my kitchen, but that’s something else, perhaps a topic for later. And until my imagination springs to life, I would always buy the normal brown potatoes.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes

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