Did you know that there are 5,000 types of cultivated potatoes worldwide and approximately 200 types of wild species and subspecies? Me either. These days, you’re lucky to find anything beyond the usual suspects (Yukon Gold, russet, red-skinned, Idaho bakers, etc.) at most grocery stores, which, instead, choose to stock their shelves with, for example, a dozen brands of “maple syrup” — since when does corn syrup + maple flavoring = maple syrup? That is one of the reasons, among many others (taste, quality, supporting small farmers, etc.), that I am committed to shopping at farmers’ markets. Varietals of vegetables, some on the verge of extinction, are being preserved and re-introduced by small farmers. Lack of genetic diversity and reliance on just a few species pose a risk to our food supply.
In addition to Peruvian Purple potatoes, I picked up an assortment of other varieties (Russian banana, “All Blue”, and Ozette) for a simple-to-prepare, flavorful, Indian-spiced mashed potato recipe — adapted from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking.
Indian-Spiced Mashed Potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 green chile (serrano or jalapeno), minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Bring a medium sized pot to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender. Mash the potatoes, skins and all (the skins are loaded with nutrients).
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, chile, and cumin seeds, and fry until the seeds turn brown (just a few minutes). Add the mashed potatoes, ground coriander, paprika, cayenne, tumeric, salt, lemon juice, and cilantro. Stir to combine ingredients and cook for another minute or two. Simple and delicious!