Harissa-spiced Marinated Potatoes with Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Sauce


Harissa Potatoes with Yogurt Sauce

Harissa Potatoes with Yogurt Sauce

I have one lovely recipe for marinated baked potatoes on here, which my sister gave me. I thought it time for another. This one’s a little different. For starters, it’s crusted in panko breadcrumbs. Also, it’s spiced with harissa. I bought my harissa, but you can make it if you like. I’ve seen recipes out there on the net. Warning! This recipe calls for 8-10 hours marination time. Also, harissa is super spicy. Taste it before you use it.

The low-fat buttermilk in this recipe is what you get in the US in cartons. If you’re in India, use 2 tbsp sour curds (yogurt) mixed with 2/3 cup warm water instead. The yogurt sauce is essentially a variation on cucumber raita.

You need:

  1. 4-5 small potatoes
  2. 1 tbsp harissa paste
  3. 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, room temperature
  4. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  5. salt to taste (I didn’t add any)

For the sauce:

  1. 1 cup thick yogurt (ideally Greek yogurt)
  2. 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped English cucumber
  4. salt to taste
Harissa paste and buttermilk

Harissa and buttermilk

How to:

  1. First, mix all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce together, cover, and put it in the fridge. 
  2. Parboil the potatoes. Don’t let them get mushy. Cool in cold water and ice.
  3. Peel the potatoes and if they are not small, cut them in half.
  4. Pierce with a fork.
  5. In a bowl big enough to hold the potatoes, mix the buttermilk and harissa paste. Whisk together.
  6. Place the peeled potatoes in this mixture.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8-10 hours. Overnight is good, 24 hours even better. potatoes in buttermilk mixture
  8. Take the potatoes out of the fridge after 8-10 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  10. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a plate.
  11. Gently stir the buttermilk to make sure the potatoes are well coated with it, then lift out, shake gently, and roll in the panko.
  12. Cover well with the panko, then place the potatoes on a foil lined, oil sprayed baking dish.
  13. Cook uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the panko starts to brown.
  14. When it starts to brown, turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes on each side for a nice browning. Be careful, as the panko can burn very fast. You have to watch it constantly.
  15. Remove from the oven and serve with chilled yogurt sauce.

Dilled Celery Root and Potatoes

Celery root is an ugly, gnarly-looking root vegetable. It tastes like celery, although the root and stalks are not cultivated from the same varieties. It’s tasty, lower carb than potatoes, and you can eat it either raw or cooked. This recipe calls for cooking. Remember, you have to cut away the peel, so you won’t get much out of each root. Buy the smaller ones with fresh green tops, no slime, and they should not be green.

You need:

  1. 1 celery root, chopped into 1/4″ pieces (see note)
  2. 2 medium-sized potatoes like Yukon Gold, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  3. 3/4 cup vegetable stock (you can use water if you don’t have any broth or stock)
  4. 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  5. 4-5 green onions
  6. Salt to taste
  7. A pinch of Chinese five spice (optional)

How to:

  1. Cut the green leafy parts off the green onions. Chop the whites finely (remember to discard the root end).
  2. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. (I use Cuisinart’s hard anodized cookware and don’t actually need the oil).
  3. Add the chopped onions (white parts only) and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the celery root and potatoes and stir.
  5. Add the salt and five spice and stir.
  6. When it starts to stick to the bottom, add the stock or water and stir well. Be careful not to break the vegetables.
  7. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.
  8. While it it cooking, finely chop the onion greens and the dill. Do not cut the dill up too much, as it will then lose its smell.
  9. Once the vegetables are tender, add the onion greens and dill and stir. Take off the heat.

You can eat this over rice, with chapattis, or stuffed into a pita. I ate it just by itself, with some yogurt.

Note: To prepare celery root, wash it well. Scrub with a vegetable brush. Cut off the top and root ends, about 1/2″ on each side. Using a sharp knife, cut away the peel. You could use a peeler, but it might be more difficult. Rinse, wipe dry, and now it’s ready to use. It’s a little tough to cut, so be careful.


Watercress Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

I discovered a new soup! Watercress was one of those things I would stare at in the grocery, wondering what I could do with it. I even bought it once, intending to make sandwiches with it, and then couldn’t figure out quite how to make a sandwich with it. Also, I don’t really make and eat sandwiches.

But soup! Even cooked (I think) watercress is an excellent source of Vit. A, C, and K. It’s incredibly low-calorie! It tastes delightful! It promotes world peace!

Okay, not that last, sadly, but it’s goooood. Trust me. Try it. And it’s quick!

You need:

  1. 2 loosely packed cups of watercress (1 bunches), washed
  2. 1/4 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion (not red, red has a stronger flavor)
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped leek (white only; leave out if you don’t have any)
  4. 2 cups low-sodium (or sodium-free) vegetable stock/broth/bouillon
  5. 1 medium-sized potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  6. 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  7. 1/2 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)

How to:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan–something with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. When it is hot, add the onion and leek and stir.
  3. Cook for a few minutes, stirring now and again, until the vegetables are soft, but not browned. (If they do start turning brown, don’t worry about it. Turn down the heat and add a couple of spoons of the broth, and stir.)
  4. Add salt and stir.
  5. Add the potato and stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes. If the potatoes start “catching” on the bottom, add a little bit of the broth. Just a little. And stir.
  6. Add the watercress and stir well. Cook until the watercress has just wilted.
  7. Add the broth, stir, and cover.
  8. Cook until the potatoes have cooked. This should take about ten minutes, but keep an eye on them. Don’t overcook the watercress or it will lose its flavor.
  9. Turn off the heat.
  10. Put the soup in a glass bowl with high sides and blend with a hand blender. OR, take out the solids and blend in a food processor, then put the blended solids back in the rest of the soup.
  11. Strain. Dispose of the pulp (compost, use in a sauce, etc.)
  12. Add crushed black pepper and enjoy!

My plan is to eat the soup for lunch, with a little baguette, a little 18-year old balsamic vinegar…

Note: I suppose you could also make this in the slow cooker. Turn it on high, add the oil, onions, and leeks. Cover. After 30 minutes, add everything else, stir, and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Then blend, strain, etc. Be warned, though, that I haven’t tried this in a slow cooker. I’m offering a hypothetical possibility 🙂

Beet and Potato Cutlets

I got the idea of combining beets and potatoes from one of Tarla Dalal’s recipes. She uses them to make koftas for curry. But I’m not a big fan of the koftas, and the idea of cutlets sounded real good to me. So here’s my version, which was super tasty.

You need: 1 cup grated beets (beetroot); 1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes; 1 cup breadcrumbs; 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste; 1/2 tsp red chili powder (cayenne); 1/2 tsp garam masala; 1 Hungarian hot wax pepper or other mild pepper (optional); salt to taste (about 3/4 of a tsp is what I would do); 1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream; 1 tbsp chopped dill.

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients except the breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  3. Add enough breadcrumbs to give it enough texture that you can form it into patties (cutlets). You might have to add a little bit at a time, mix it all together, and try to form a cutlet.
  4. How to make a cutlet: pull up a little of the mixture in your hands. Say, about the size of a table-tennis ball. Roll it into a ball. Flatten it gently with your hands until it is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick.
  5. If you cannot do this, follow these instructions: If the mash is too sticky, add a little more breadcrumbs and try again. If the mash is too dry (the cutlets have cracks) add some water, a very little bit at a time, and try again. You could also just use a burger press, if you have one.
  6. Once you make your cutlets, place them on a greased oven-proof cookie sheet or in an oven-proof baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the outside of the cutlets forms a firm crust. Flip them over halfway through (at about 10 minutes).
  7. Mix the dill with the yogurt or sour cream and top the cutlets with it.

We froze these in ziploc bags for about a couple of weeks, and they were fine.

Aloo Chard (Potatoes with Chard)

We’ve had a huge number of tomatoes from our Early Girl plant, and we’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. Curry vegetables can always use tomatoes, so that was our first idea. We also had quite a bit of chard from our garden, and wanted to use it before the rabbits got to it. And we also had harvested a couple of cayenne peppers. Traditionally, potatoes are cooked with spinach, but I thought chard would be fun. The stems on chard are so crunchy, and rainbow chard is so pretty! So we cooked the potatoes with chard instead.

You need: 4-5 medium potatoes; 4-5 medium tomatoes; 1 big bunch chard (10-15 leaves); 1 medium red onion; 1-2 hot peppers such as cayenne, or other green chilies to taste; 1/2 tsp garam masala; 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds); 2 tbsp oil; salt to taste. Oh, and a rather large pot to cook it in.

How to:

1. Cut the potatoes, onions, and tomatoes (separately) into 1/2″ pieces.

2.Slice open the peppers and discard the seeds.

3. Heat the oil. Add the cumin and chili peppers.

4. Add the onions and stir.

5. After about 1-2 minutes, add the potatoes. Stir and cover.

6. Stir occasionally. If it sticks to the bottom, add 1/4 cup water.

7. Wash the chard. Cut the stems into 1/2″ pieces and the leaves into long ribbons. Keep them separate and set aside.

8. Add the tomatoes, salt, garam masala, and chard stems to the potatoes. Stir well and cover.

9. When the potatoes are almost done (softened but not mushy), and the tomatoes are mushy, add the chard leaves. Like so: add a handful, stir in, let them wilt, add another handful, and so on until you’ve used them all up.

10. Cover and cook until the potatoes are done.

Eat hot over rice, bread, or with roti or naan.

Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Try this – it’s awesome! We get potatoes in our CSA now, and we got some dill, so I used them for this.

You need: 4-5 medium-sized potatoes ( I prefer red or gold); 2 tbsp butter; 1/4 cup milk; 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill; salt to taste.

How to:

1. Boil the potatoes thoroughly. Stick a knife in them. When it goes through all the way with no resistance, it’s done.

2. Using a potato masher, mash a bit.

3. Add the butter. Finishing mashing.

4. Add just enough milk to give it a smooth texture, without making it liquidy.

5. Add salt and dill. Mix well.

Eat hot.

Aloo Palak (Potatoes with Spinach)

As you know, I’ve been doing a CSA, and I had some spinach left over from the stir-fry I made with some of the other greens. I had stored it in a plastic bag in the fridge and one week on, it was still fresh and green – no wilting. The only other vegetables I had were onions and potatoes. So, aloo-palak it was. It was quite good, and much better than when I used the frozen spinach. We have some chard coming up in the garden, and I think it will be wonderful with chard as well.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

You need: Three large potatoes; 3 small bunches baby spinach (or one large bunch regular spinach); 1 small red onion; 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera; 1/2 tsp mustard seeds/sarson; 1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi; 1/4 tsp daily masala or garam masala

How to:

  1. Peel and chop the potatoes into 1/2″ pieces.
  2. Wash, drain, and shred or chop the spinach.
  3. Finely chop the onion.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok/kadhai.
  5. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and daily/garam masala. Stir well and turn the heat down to medium.
  6. Add the onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes. Stir well. Sprinkle salt to taste, and turmeric over the top. Stir well.
  8. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. If it “catches” on the bottom, add 1/4 cup water and stir. Cover again.
  9. Add the spinach. Stir well until they cook down a bit. Cover and cook until potatoes are done (until they are cooked through but not squishy).


The grandest of all South Indian vegetable dishes! Who doesn’t love aviyal? Perfect for festival occasions, and for just simply! However, this is not an easy recipe, and takes time and effort. Well worth it, though.

Preparation (chopping, etc.): 40 Minutes
Boiling (vegetables, do them simultaneously if possible): 30 Minutes
Simmering once mixed: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


1 cup yam, julienned (this is not sweet potato, but the large, brown, yam – the ugliest one in the store – jimikand)
1 cup plantain, peeled and julienned (vazhakai, or kaccha kela). Be careful to wash your hands after, as the sticky stuff stains.
1 cup white pumpkin, or marrow, or yellow squash, julienned
1 cup green beans, julienned
½ cup peas
½ cup carrots, julienned
1 large baking potato, julienned (don’t use a soft potato like the ones used for mashed potatoes)
2 cups fresh coconut, shredded/grated (or dehydrated + 1 can coconut milk)
2 cups yogurt
1 tbsp. rice flour
1 tsp. tamarind paste
4 green chillies, or to taste
5 leaves curry leaves
1 tbsp. oil , preferably coconut oil
to taste salt


1. The vegetables should be cut in thick strips of 1/2″, not thinner. Keep the vegetables separate.
2. If you do not have fresh coconut, use dried, rehydrate, and add one can of coconut milk.
3. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 4 cups warm water.
4. Boil the plantain in this water until it is cooked, but firm. It will feel like a cooked potato. (Think al dente).
5. Remove the banana and set aside. Boil the yam in the same water, to a similar firmness.
6. Drain and throw away the water.
7. Boil or steam all the other vegetables. These may be cooked together. The vegetables should still be firm; do not overcook them. Do not drain completely, retain about two cups of water.
8. Grind the coconut and green chillies together to a fine paste. Add water as necessary, but do not make liquidy.
9. Place all the vegetables in a large wok or kadhai.
10. Add ground coconut paste and salt. Stir gently, but mix well.
11. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.
12. Dissolve the rice flour in 1/2 cup water and add to the vegetables. Mix gently and simmer for 3 minutes more.
13. Whip the yogurt until smooth.
14. Turn off the heat, add the yogurt to the vegetables, and stir well, taking care not to break the vegetables.
15. In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the curry leaves. Make sure they are not wet. Allow to sputter and add to the vegetables. Mix well.
Serve over rice. Makes 6 servings.

Marinated baked potatoes

This one’s from my sister (thanks, Ka!) and it’s delicious 🙂

Preparation time: 30 minutes + marinade time

Cooking time: 40 minutes

You need: As many potatoes as you like (at least 4-5); 2-3 cups thick yogurt; 2 tsp minced ginger or ginger paste; 2 tbsp minced garlic or garlic paste; 1 tbsp lemon juice; 1/2 tsp turmeric; and to taste: salt, red chili powder, ground cumin (jeera powder)

How to: Peel the potatoes, cut them into 2″ pieces if needed, and set to boil. I used Yukon Golds, which worked very well. Don’t let them boil too much – they should be done through but not squishy.

Meanwhile, put the yogurt in a bowl and add everything else to it. Mix well.

When the potatoes are done, put them in the bowl with the marinade and cover thoroughly. Marinate at least one hour. The longer you leave them in, the better they will taste. the maximum I’ve gone is three days, so this is a good dish to make in advance for a party.

Take the potatoes out of the marinade and place in an oven-proof dish. Cover with a little marinade (so they don’t dry out) and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.

Aloo-shimla mirch sabzi (Potato-bell pepper vegetable)


We ate this last night and I have to say, it was damn good. This is an experiment that worked. Mostly, I think, because it only marginally varied from tried-and-true aloo-shimla mirch sabzi.

You need: 2 medium-sized potatoes, diced; 2 medium-sized bell peppers (capsicums), diced; 2-3 curry leaves; 2 dried red chili; 1 tsp jeera (cumin seed); 1/2 tsp each of turmeric, red chili powder, and ground coriander; 1/2 tsp poppy seeds; 1/2 tsp urad dal; 1/2 a small onion, finely chopped; salt to taste; 3 tbsps oil

How to: Heat the oil in a stockpot. Add (in this order): cumin seeds, dried red chili, curry leaves, urad dal, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder. Stir. Add onion and let it cook for less than a minute. Add the potatoes and salt. Add the poppy seeds. Stir well. Give it the occasional stir and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the peppers, sprinkle a little water over the top, stir well, and cover. Open now and again and give it a stir. Cook till the potatoes are done to your satisfaction.

Edit: Okay, I know most people might not have poppy seeds (khus-khus?) in their kitchen, and it’s really optional. But if you have them, they add a wonderful and subtle flavor.