Exploring Spices: Potato A Thousand Ways

Madhur Jaffrey

Lesson time 19:53 min

In this lesson, Madhur teaches students the infinite possibilities of spices and demonstrates four ways to use them to transform simple boiled potatoes into something truly special.

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Topics include: Potato a Thousand Ways: Cumin Seeds · Potato a Thousand Ways: South Indian Potatoes · Potato a Thousand Ways: North Indian Potatoes · Potato a Thousand Ways: Potatoes for Masala Dosa · Build Your Spice Shelf Over Time


[INDIAN MUSIC] MADHUR JAFFREY: People think that you need a lot of Indian spices to cook Indian food. You don't. We don't use them all the time, hundreds of spices. Once you learn how spices work, you can improvise. Indian food is improvised food, in many ways. So there's a lot of freedom, as well as a lot of rules, in Indian food. And you have to find a space that goes right between them. I'm going to take potatoes and show you how you can do different things with them. And I'm going to make home-fried potatoes with cumin seeds. I will just heat a little oil on medium-high heat. And wait for the oil to get hot. Because what I'm going to do is let the cumin seeds sizzle in hot oil first, before I put the potatoes in. And that's all. So here are my boiled and diced potatoes. And here are my cumin seeds. So the oil is getting hot. And if the oil is hot, they sizzle right away. So I put a little pinch of cumin seeds into the hot oil. You see how they start to sizzle? And I let them sizzle for a bit, as you can see. And now, I'm going to put the potatoes in. [SIZZLES GENTLY] And we have a little salt. Put that in. And you needn't put pepper, either. These are like hash browns but just with cumin seeds. And I will keep on frying these till they're lightly golden. Now, you see how they're turning a little brown? And that's all I want. I just want to show you how just one spice is enough. [INDIAN MUSIC] So the next potato dish is not from the North, where the first one was. This is from the South. And these are the simplest of Southern seasonings which I will combine with the potatoes. It's again on a medium-high heat. And Southern food tends to be hotter than food in the North. So I'm going to put a generous amount of mustard seeds. There. And the mustard seeds, I have to wait till they pop. And once they start popping, I will put red chillies. And I will break them up because they like their food hot. You see them popping now? So now, I'm going to put in the red chillies. Shake the pan about. And I will put in the curry leaves. These are leaves that are used in South Indian cooking all the time. And I will put these in. And you have to stand back. Because they go pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and they spray you a little bit. So you stand back when you do it. Okay, I will put my boiled potatoes in. And I will let these cook. Maybe I'll add a little water to them after they're slightly browned. All right. Now, these would be very Southern potatoes. I'll add a little water so they get a little soggy and wet. Mm. [COUGHS LIGHTLY] You can smell, you can feel, the chilies now. But they clear your throat perfectly. Then your throat will be all bare. Some salt. I'm just illustrating this with potatoes. But in South India, this would very often be a cabbage of some sort. And it makes a ...

About the Instructor

With more than 30 award-winning cookbooks and a James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame Award, Madhur Jaffrey may be the greatest living authority on Indian cuisine. Now she shares those vast and storied traditions with you. Learn 30 authentic recipes: vegetables, breads, South Asian meats, street foods, and more. Blend and layer spices and bring it all together—from the perfect bite to full menus of vibrant flavor.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Madhur Jaffrey

7x James Beard Award winner Madhur Jaffrey teaches you 30 authentic recipes and shares India’s vast culinary traditions and techniques.

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