Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients in this fragrant, sour Nepalese curry; most are store cupboard staples that can be shaken straight out of a jar or tin. The naga bhut jolokia chilli powder is intensely fruity and ferociously hot, so handle with caution and don’t be tempted to add much more than the recipe states, unless you are already a diehard chilli aficionado.
This is traditionally a fairly soupy dish, so you don’t want to reduce the sauce too much. You can also use pickled bamboo shoots, if available, for greater authenticity, but taste before adding the lemon juice. This can be served with rice for some double carb comfort, but equally stands alone as a bowlful of hearty goodness in its own right.
Ingredients for aloo bodi tama
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 medium onions
- 5cm piece of root ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp timur or Szechuan peppercorns (optional)
- 1 whole naga bhut jolokhia (ground to make ¼ tsp powder)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- The juice of half a lemon
- 400g tin of black-eyed beans
- 500g waxy new potatoes
- 225g tin of sliced bamboo shoots
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- A generous handful of fresh coriander
Method for aloo bodi tama
- Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the onions, finely sliced into half-moons.
- Fry the onions, stirring intermittently, for approx. 15 minutes, or until well coloured.
- Peel and grate, or finely chop the root ginger and stir into the onions along with crushed garlic cloves.
- Reduce the heat and continue to gently fry for a further few minutes. Add 2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp ground timur or Szechuan pepper (optional), ¼ tsp naga bhut jolokia chilli powder and 1 tsp fine sea salt.
- Fry off the spices, stirring all the time, for about a minute, then squeeze in the juice of ½ lemon.
- Par-boil the potatoes in salty water for 15 minutes.
- Add a drained and rinsed tin of black-eyed beans, waxy new potatoes, a drained tin of sliced bamboo shoots, and chopped tomatoes. Fill the empty tomato tin with water to rinse out any tomato residue, and add that to the pot along with a further 250ml water.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring intermittently, or until the potatoes are fully cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Taste for seasoning and acidity, adding extra salt or lemon juice, if needed, and serve garnished with a generous handful of chopped fresh coriander.