As a fussy kid, potatoes were the only ‘vegetable’ I used to like and my love for potatoes haven’t changed much since then. I love potatoes in all forms and shapes – from mash to chips to fries to hash to pie fillings to curries; I am yet to dislike a potato dish I’ve met. But ammi’s creamy potato white curry holds a tad bit extra special place in my heart and brings back comfort and warmth even on the gloomiest days.
Sri Lankans curry-fies every possible food; but by using so many different spices each dish is able to distinguish itself not just in terms of taste, but in colour and aroma as well. For most people who are unfamiliar with spices, a curry is basically something that’s fiery and spicy but this potato dish is anything but spicy and is a great testament to what Sri Lankan curries can offer.
Accompanied by a mild, creamy coconut-ty base that is bright yellow in colour; this dish uses spices like turmeric and fenugreek seeds which are believed to carry a ton of medicinal properties. This is a super comforting and non-spicy curry dish that everyone can enjoy and is perfect dish to introduce curries to toddlers and those who are weary of curries. I love my potato white curry to be paired with a bowl of steaming hot rice and a spoonful of Vegemite, but it can also be enjoyed with stringhoppers (puttu mayam), bread or even pittu.
Cast of Characters:
- Finely chopped onion
- A few green chillies
- A few curry leaves
- Fenugreek seeds
- Turmeric powder
- Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
- Coconut milk & water
There’s basically two ways to make this dish. My mom makes it by parboiling the potatoes separately (with the peel) and then peeling and cutting them into cubes and adding it into the curry. But I somehow am not able to master the technique of parboiling the potatoes to the right consistency without making it become a mush inside the curry. So I opt for the method where the potatoes are literally cooked in the curry along with all the spices because it gives me more control over the cooking time and the texture of the potatoes. Plus, whenever I go for the parboiling method, half the potatoes ends up inside my tummy before making it into the curry 😛
For the second method of making the curry, peel and wash the potatoes and cut into bit sized cubes and place them in a pot. I opted to use a clay pot but you can use any heavy bottomed pot. Into the potatoes, add in turmeric powder, a dash of roasted curry powder, salt, onions, curry leaves, green chillies and a few fenugreek seeds along with water just enough to cover the potatoes. Mix everything and place the pot over a medium heat, cover and cook till the potatoes are almost done. It took me a bout 15 mins but keep an eye to ensure the potatoes do not get overcooked!
You could test the done-ness of the potatoes by pricking them with a fork; the fork should go through smoothly but without breaking the pieces apart into a mush. Once it is ready, add in a good amount of coconut cream and let it gently simmer till the potatoes are fully cooked.
Do not let the curry come to a rapid boil after adding the coconut cream as it will end up curdling the whole curry – and we do not want that happening!
Lastly, just like my mom used to do, I sprinkled a dash of roasted curry powder over the curry just before serving.