Oven Roasted Alu Panchphoron or Potatoes in Bengali 5 spice

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It’s raining in Mumbai and the weather makes you lazy and want to curl up in bed.

This is the season of sloth. You want to keep work to the minimum. This is also when dishes pile up and meals need to be cooked with your domestic help, if she’s like our Bunkin Banu, often not turning up to work. Plus the kitchen cupboards could be bare as trips to the market would be rare in the rains.

This is why this dish works for me. After all it’s an oven dish and therefore involves minimal effort. At the heart of the dish are potatoes which are almost always there in a Bengali kitchen.

So here’s the recipe for roasted panch phoron alu:

Ingredients (for 2):

  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed into small cubes.
  • 1 tablespoon of pacnh phoron or the Bengali 5 Spice Mix. I get panch phoron packets from the Gujarati owned Vijay Stores in Bandra’s Pali Market at Rs 35 a packet. As Wikipedia says, panch phoron is “a mix of fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed in equal parts. Some cooks prefer to use a smaller proportion of fenugreek seeds, which have a mildly bitter taste.[3]In Bengal, panch phoran is sometimes made with radhuni instead of mustard seed. In the West, where radhuni may be hard to obtain, some cooks substitute the similar-tasting celery seed.”
  • 2 table spoons vegetable oil or 2 table spoons of mustard oil. The latter will give a uniquely Bengali hit and makes the taste sharper
  • 1 tablespoon each of finely chopped onions and tomatoes. You can add a chopped green chilli too
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Prep

  • Mix all the ingredients in a baking dish. Cover with a silver foil

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Cook:

  • Preheat the oven for 10 min at 200 C
  • Put the tray into the preheated oven for 35 min at 200 C
  • After this take it out (wearing oven mitts), remove the foil and put it in for 5 to 10 minutes at 200 C
  • That’s it. Total cooking time 45 min at 200 C

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You can eat this with daal (which you came make in the micro), rice or with bread or rotis.

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Short post? Well didn’t I tell you its the season of sloth?

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