Bangaladumpa vepudu!

Dumpa in Telugu (a South Indian language…yes, we have many languages) means root vegetable.  I was curious about Bangala (which refers to Bengal…the eastern part of India) and poked around on the web.  Potato originated in Peru and according to Wikipedia, British introduced potato in Bengal as a root crop.  That explains the name in Telugu: Bangala-dumpa is hence a root vegetable that came from Bengal.  Potato is also known as urlagadda in some parts of AP (a southern state in India) and gadda means a hard lump or root and ‘urla’, apparently, means having a mealy texture or surface.  Potato is not indigenous to our region but if one sees the many many ways this vegetable is used and how integrated into the cuisine it is one would think it is.  A simple potato fry (vepudu) is such a comfort food and is eaten with rice or rotis.  The combination of rice, dal, and potato fry or rice, sambar, and potato fry is a gastronomical bliss!

This recipe is extremely simple and versatile.  Different variations of the same recipe can be made by simply adding or omitting ingredients.  A simple meal of rice, potato fry and spinach dal for dinner last night.

IMG_5700

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium potatoes – any kind.  I used white potatoes from Wegmans
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coconut powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to your level of spice tolerance)
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of coriander powder
  • A pinch of turmeric powder

Method:

  1. Peel and dice potatoes.  The smaller the faster they cook.  To make the potatoes cook faster, put them in a bowl, add enough water to just cover them, add a pinch of salt and microwave until they are half done
  2. Heat oil and add mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splatter add the rest of the seasoning ingredients: cumin, chana dal, urad dal, red chillies and crushed garlic
  3. Saute for a few seconds – this seasoning has a very nice aroma – and add potatoes, curry leaves, a pinch of turmeric and mix well
  4. Cook the potatoes, on medium heat, for some time stirring often
  5. Grind coconut powder, chill powder and salt (if you cooked potatoes in salted water be careful with salt here).  This step is optional if you are omitting coconut powder
  6. When the potatoes are almost done add the coconut powder (if you are using ) or chill powder, increase the heat, add coriander powder and keep stirring until the potatoes are nicely roasted
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or rotis

Variations:

  • You can also add onions to this recipe.  Brown onions before adding potatoes.
  • Methi (fenugreek) leaves can be added too.  Either add dried methi (about a tsp) towards the end or add fresh methi leaves when you add potatoes.  Methi leaves have a very strong taste so don’t add too much.  For 6 potatoes about 1/2 cup of loosely packed leaves should be good
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