Saturday, January 27, 2007

Like Family with Satya and Amod: Shredded Sautéd Sweet Potatoes and Chutney Sandwiches with Chai

Satya Juicing Sweet Potatoes for Pulp_3.jpg
Satya juicing sweet potatoes for pulp

Amod Sauteing Grated Sweet Potatoes .jpg
Amod starting to sauté grated sweet potatoes

Amod Sauteing Grated Sweet Potatoes _10.jpg
Grated sweet potatoes, just about done.

Satya on Sandwiches with Tomato, Coconut and Mint Chutneys_2.jpg
Satya on sandwiches with tomato, coconut and mint chutneys

Amod and Ruby.jpg
Amod and Ruby

Satya Grating Ginger for Second Chai_3.jpg
Satya grating ginger for a second chai

Satya's Chai.jpg
Satya's chai, with tea floating

In India, the potatoes we made are shredded into fine strings, like the potatoes Amod, Satya and I once ate at Lao Sze Chuan. Strings are better, but Amod told me that they're too much work. He suggested Satya juice the sweet potatoes instead, keeping the pulp to sauté. We tasted the chalky juice and Amod joked that without it, the potatoes would be a low-carb meal.

Rich Golden Shredded Sweet Potatoes

For the potatoes, sauté whole cumin seeds in olive oil until they darken, then add chopped jalapeños (a local adjustment from how you'd do it in India), add a few moments later, after the jalapeños soften, add shredded sweet potatoes with a pinch of cayenne. Cover with low heat, giving it a good bottom-scraping stir every 5 or 10 minutes, until dark and golden. Salt to taste when the flavors start coming out, about halfway through.

Amod told us that these potatoes are one of "my favorite dishes," and that they take a while to cook but he loves them; Satya added, especially long if you have to grate the potatoes by hand. Amod likes to experiment with Western spices - they're subtler, he told me - so he used cayenne instead of the red chilies you get in India. In the meantime - while we were witnessing history making in the potatoes, as Amod joked - we stood around drinking wine, sipping Amod's smooth, rich and perfectly sweetened chai, relating consumer value to responsible economics in the spirit of Amod's MBA program, eating chutney sandwiches Satya made, and nibbling on roasted nuts that would have been brilliant with crushed dried curry leaves and hot pepper. The potatoes were nothing short of amazing, with a well rounded but subtle sweetness and deep flavor all the way through. Satya agreed, "This is brilliant." Amod's an amazing cook. The ingredients quite add up to what we ate; it's a lot of serious technique and patience.

Chutney Sandwiches

The chutney sandwiches came on white bread (the only kind you find outside specialty shops in India), loaded with mint and coconut chutneys and filled with sliced tomato.


Grate fresh ginger into water that's heating on the stove. Add sugar and tea leaves (just a little chai, this kind is strong, Amod reminded). After the tea has had time to brew, mix in soy milk and cover with a plate until hot. Strain to serve.

The Finish

We sat at the table, next to injera that Satya and Amod picked up on one of many trips to Shan's. Satya made us a second round of chai and we chatted. Now, make sure you have Satya's latest CD to listen to while you're cooking.


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