Back then when tv channels were limited but time was ample, stress was alien word, families were bigger and worries were few, when there were enough leaves and visit to grandparents and cousins was a thing. Remember that time? Those days sit fondly in the good memory stack of mind.
Those were the days when we waited for summer vacations and trip to grandparents. These were no exotic vacations, lavish resorts but those holidays were the most exciting time of the year. I remember I crossed lines in my little note book waiting for these holidays and as excited as I was to meet dadi, nani or cousins, I looked forward for the train journey. Ahhh the train journey!! Don’t we all remember that. Those train journeys were the mark of start of vacations; far from school, school bags and books, trains took us to the happy land. It felt like a live movie. My tiny mind grappled to contain excitement at the smallest but new wonders of the world; the moving trees, vast fields, small villages, mountains people. Ahh the nostalgia!! Well, if you have been there done that then you would know the preparations that went on before these journies.
Mom would make stuffed karela if it was a long journey, how much I hated karela as a kid but in train, those karela with poori tasted like the best thing ever. There had to spiced crispy potatoes, bhindi may be, salad, pickle, poori and what not. There was this food and then there was speciality of each station. Mathura ke pede, Agra ka petha or unnao ka samosa; each station served their speciality with pride and we had taste of all of it. Then there was station food, the small stall which was constantly frying pooris in hurry, hot and pipping and there it was, a large plate stacked with the most tempting spiced potatoes ever. I am sure those were strategically stacked to tempt you enough to just go grab one plate of poori aloo.
Bright red and saffron-ish, oozing with spices, tantalizing juicy and sprinkled with greens; those looked like explosion of colours and spices. Thinking about that stall with potatoes and pooris makes my stomach grind right now. I have tried quite a few time to recreate that taste and colour and yayy this time it was exactly the same. I know you too are salivating by now, so just go ahead make these bright, spicy, tangy baby potatoes and hot poori for breakfast tomorrow but if it was me, I would wait for morning and makes these for my next meal and savor like those happy days of the past.
All you need is baby potatoes and some daily spices which you will have in your kitchen. I think there are couple of things which will help you recreate that magic and make those ever appetizing ‘Station Wale Aloo:
- Do not over boil the potatoes, these should be cooked but firm enough to hold shape. If you think potatoes are little too big, cut them in half.
- Dry roast the spices, this will bring out the flavor even more.
- Grind the spices coarsely. It covers the potatoes well and makes them supremely tantalizing
- 1/2 kg baby potatoes
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 dry red chili
- 1/2 tbsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tbsp dry mango (amchur) powder
- Chopped coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
- Wash and boil the potatoes. Boil till potatoes are soft but not soggy.
- Slightly dry roast coriander, half of the cumin seeds and dry red chili. Just when seeds start to splutter, switch off the flame. Coarsely grind the seeds in pestle and mortar.
- In a pan or kadhai, heat oil and add half of cumin seeds.When seeds start to splutter, add peeled potatoes.
- Add kashimiri chili powder, ground powder and salt. Let it cook on low to medium flame for 3-4 minutes. Stir it once or twice.
- Once potatoes are crispy and almost done add amchur and garam masala powder. Give it couple of more minutes.
- Add chopped coriander leaves and serve with chapati but preferably hot pooris.