Monday, October 24, 2011

"Extending the Table" with Curried Peas and Potatoes

As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I are working our way through a special cookbook called "Extending the Table". We found this gem of a book at Ten Thousand Villages, which is a store that sells fair trade, handmade products from countries all over the world. The proceeds from the sales of the products always go back to the artisan and the village it came from. My favorite item from the store is a pendant in the shape of a Peace Dove. It is made from bomb shell casings that are found all over the countryside in Cambodia. The word Peace is engraved on it in both English and Khmer. I keep it on my key chain (since I use them several times a day) as a constant reminder of how truly blessed and lucky I am to raise my daughters in a peaceful nation, and to not complain about the small unimportant things because I really don't have a reason to complain, even on my bad days.

On one of our visits to the store I came across this cookbook. I really liked the messages of this book- More with Less and generous hospitality. More with Less started with another cookbook put together by Doris Janzen Longacre in 1976 in response to the world food crisis. She compiled recipes that encouraged people to look at how they ate and reduce how much food they used and wasted in meals. The other message is about sharing what you have, regardless of how little you do or don't have. There are stories throughout the book of families sharing their meal with missionaries, even though they barely have enough for themselves.

The beauty of these recipes is that they do not use a ton of ingredients, nor are they difficult to prepare. They usually come from villages where Kitchen Aid and Cuisinart don't exist. The ingredients are basic, and if it is something that is not common in the States (or Canada), the author has listed a substitute.

This week's recipe is Curried Peas with Potatoes from India.

2 Tablespoons Oil
2 1/2 teaspoon ginger root, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (Cayenne pepper)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped OR 2 cups canned tomatoes
1 1/2 Tablespoon cilantro OR 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1-2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup water
3 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala

1.In a medium saucepan, (I used my cast iron pot) heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add and saute the 2.5 teaspoons of ginger root, 2.5 teaspoons of garlic, 1/2 cup of onion, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

2.When the onions are brown, add 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and the 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and the cilantro or coriander (I used coriander).

4. Cook that for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates and then add the potato and water. If you use canned tomatoes, use less water- about a 1/4 cup.

5.Stir well, bringing it to a boil. After 10 minutes add the peas. Cook until the potatoes and peas are done. At this point I added the Garam Masala as well. I let it simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes on low.

Serve over rice as a main dish, or as a side to another curry meal. We had it as a meal, and it was quite filling.

My husband suggested that it would also be really good as a side with my South African Sweet and Sour Chicken .

"Kindness does not go rotten"
~Swahili proverb


  1. Sounds yummy but what the heck is Garam Masala?

  2. It is a blend of Indian spices. You can get it at World Market:-)

  3. Steph you made Aloo Mataar!!! That is my favorite vegetarian Indian dish - I am friends with a couple here who are from India, and they have had me over at their place for Aloo Mataar many times - isn't it really tasty?!