Batate Saung / Potatoes in a fiery sauce
..well, as fiery as you want it to be. Batate saung traditionally is a Mangalorean dish. If I have to narrow it down further, it’s a Konkani dish. Konkani style fare is most sought after vegetarian food in Mangalore, as I remember it. That’s why grandma took on to making some of them at home regularly. Most of their dishes are light and relatively healthy. But this batate saung was something else. Fiery, sour and delicious. Using only onions, potato and a spice paste with chillies, coconut, coriander seeds and tamarind, this one takes just about 15-20 mins to make.
Whenever the fish monger didn’t come by with his stock of fresh fish, especially during monsoon, and when there weren’t other vegetables at home, grandma would quickly whip up some batate saung and some dal. This dish reminds me of her and the monsoon in Mangalore; the front yard and its mud, wet with early morning rains.
Potato – 3-4 medium, cut into bite sized cubes
Onion – 1 medium chopped
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp + 2 tsp
Salt to taste
For the ground masala:
Kashmiri chillies or any dried red chillies – 6-7 deseeded (keep the seeds if you are serious about the ‘fiery’ part)
Coconut – 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
Tamarind paste – 3/4 tsp
Channa dal – 1 tsp
Dry roast the chillies, coriander seeds and channa dal for about a minute on a dry nonstick pan.
Transfer to your mixer jar along with the coconut and tamarind. Add a splash of water and blend till you have a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Fill a saucepan with the potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes.
Bring it up to boil and then simmer it. Let it cook for about 2-3 mins. It should be cooked 3/4th of the way. Strain and keep 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Heat a tbsp of coconut oil in a nonstick pan and saute the onions in it till translucent.
Add the masala and the potatoes along with some salt. Mix well.
Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water and simmer for 5 mins. Turn the heat off.
Now heat 2 tsp of coconut oil and add the curry leaves to it. Let them splutter.
Top the saung with the curry leaves.
Serve as a side dish with rice or have it with hot roti. I also love it with dosa.
Note: For that real Mangalorean taste, do use coconut oil instead of any other oil, ghee or butter.