Gauranga Potatoes

This recipe came from the co-worker of a good friend of mine.  The best way I can describe it is Bengali Scalloped Potatoes.  They are delicious and absolutely addictive.  The original recipe called for ghee, which is clarified butter.  Ghee is used widely in India because it keeps well without refrigeration.  It also has religious uses.  In Mumbai, the area of India where I lived, both  butter and ghee were made from soured milk, although some places make it from sweet milk. Prepared ghee can be purchased at Asian groceries.  I didn’t have ghee, so I used unsalted butter and it worked.  If you want to make ghee at home, it isn’t too difficult. Simmer unsalted butter in a large pot on very low heat until all the water has boiled off and the protein has settled to the bottom. Gently spoon off the cooked and clarified butter that is on the top, avoiding disturbing the milk solids on the bottom of the pan.

The recipe also uses asofoetida, a spice that is less familiar in western kitchens. Asofoetida, which was called hing by my Mumbai neighbors, is a staple in much Indian cooking, especially vegetarian cooking.  Asofoetida is made from a resin-like gum which comes from the dried sap extracted from the stem and roots of the perennial Ferula Assafoetida.  It has a strong, and some would say unpleasant odor, which when heated in oil or ghee becomes milder and more pleasant, acquiring a taste and aroma reminiscent of sautéed onion and garlic. Asofoetida’s odor is so strong that it must be stored in airtight containers; otherwise the aroma will contaminate other spices stored nearby. It can be purchased in Asian markets, but those who are allergic to gluten should be aware that some companies blend pulverized asafoetida with wheat flour, so check the label.

Gauranga Potatoes

8 medium potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold, but red potatoes will work
1 Tablespoon butter or ghee
1 teaspoon ground asofoetida
¾ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
¾ teaspoon turmeric
3 cups non-fat sour cream
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Salt to taste
½ cup water
1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel the potatoes and slice into ¼ inch pieces. Boil them in a large pan until they’re cooked but still firm. Drain off the water and set the potatoes aside. In the same pan, over medium low heat, heat the first tablespoon of butter (or ghee if you have it),with the asofoetida, rosemary and turmeric. Lightly brown, remove from heat, and add the sour cream, melted butter, salt, black pepper, and ½ cup water. Gently fold in the potato slices. Place in a 9 x 13 baking pan and sprinkle with the paprika. Bake for 30 or 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, until top is golden brown. Makes 8 servings at 3 grams of fat/serving.


NOTE: You can also make this in a Dutch oven or other stove-top and oven-proof dish, eliminating the need to spoon it into a baking pan.  This reheated very well, and I took it for lunch for several days after I had it for dinner. On the last day, I added a couple of handfuls of frozen green beans to the leftovers, and the combination was great.



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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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