Aloo Muttar or potato and peas is a dish I grew up eating in India and it’s easy to whip up and totally delicious.
If you’re on social media you are likely no stranger to the nutrition wars and frankly, misinformation that is making so many folks feel overwhelmed and confused about what to eat for health.
I consider it my job to cut through the noise and share science-based advice that can help us live healthier disease free lives. The rampant demonization of real whole plant foods — oats, potatoes, lentils! leaves me shaking my head.
These foods have been part of healthy ancestral diets, they are nutrient rich and affordable, great for our gut microbes and fantastic canvases to add in anti-oxidant rich herbs, spices and vegetables.
Let’s take potatoes. Yes they can be calorie dense and unhealthy when deep fried or loaded with cream and butter and consumed in excess in those forms. But on their own or in this dish with blood sugar balancing fenugreek, digestion boosting cumin, anti inflammatory turmeric and mustard seeds, quercetin loaded onions and fiber and protein packed peas, they can be a fantastic addition to a balanced diet. Plus they are delicious!
So in summary, when you hear someone demonizing real whole plant foods that have been enjoyed by cultures for centuries, I encourage us all to use common sense. Ignore the fear Mongering, focus on your overall dietary pattern (not single foods) and enjoy all the delicious gifts from nature. When confused, It’s helpful to go back to that famous quote from Michael Pollan — Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants. And with that as your guide, you really can’t go wrong.
- 8 red or Yukon gold potatoes
- 3 tablespoons avocado or other neutral flavored oil
- a small pinch hing (asafoetida)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 12 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1-2 green chilies sliced lengthwise (optional)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Place the potatoes into a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Season generously with salt and boil for 10 minutes until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
Heat the oil on medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the hing and mustard seeds and let them begin to sputter then add in the cumin and fenugreek seeds and sauté for 30 seconds until toasted but not burnt! Add the curry leaves, onion, turmeric and chili’s if using and sauté for 3 minutes.
Add the cooked potatoes, salt and pepper and sauté to combine well. Add the peas and allow them to cook for 5 minutes sautéing often. Adjust the salt to taste.
Garnish with cilantro and enjoy with lentils and a flatbread for the perfect joyous balanced meal.