Sunday, October 5, 2014

SRC: Mustard Seed Potatoes and Chickpeas + Hometown Fried Fish

My partner for this month's Secret Recipe Club was Easily Good Eats.  I was looking for an Indian-flavored side dish, and the lightly spiced mustard potatoes and chickpeas from Easily Good Eats seemed like it would be the perfect choice!  The technique for the potatoes is similar to home fries -- the potatoes are boiled until tender first, and then crisped up in a hot skillet with oil.  Here, the potatoes are supplemented with chickpeas, mustard seeds, and warm spices.  This makes for a lovely side dish that would go well with any type of Indian main dish.

I served these potatoes with a fried fish dish from Aarti Sequeira's new cookbook, Aarti Paarti.  I had been waiting and waiting for this cookbook to come out, and I was so excited to read through it, gaze at the gorgeous photos, and try out my first recipe! This fried fish is amazing -- wonderfully spiced, perfectly crispy, and topped with fabulous quick-pickled shallots.  It takes a little longer than some fried fish recipes because the fish fillets need 30 minutes in the fridge to marinate, but the extra time is well worth it...this is probably the best fried fish I have ever had!

This dynamic duo made a really excellent dinner, and I know this is a meal I'll be making again.  Don't forget lots of fresh cilantro sprinkled on top to keep your plate from looking boring!

Mustard Seed Potatoes and Chickpeas (adapted from Easily Good Eats, original recipe here)
Serves 2-3 as a side dish

1 large Russet potato
Olive oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala or curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Minced cilantro, optional

1. Peel the potato and cut into about 3/4-inch cubes.  Place in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.  Drain.
2. Heat a generous pour of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When it shimmers, add the mustard seeds, garam masala, and garlic powder.  Stir occasionally until the mustard seeds start to pop and the spices are fragrant.
3. Add the potato and chickpeas to the skillet, and season generously with salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are crispy and browned.  Add more oil as you go if the skillet appears too dry.
4. If you'd like a bit of color, sprinkle with minced fresh cilantro just before serving.

Hometown Fried Fish (adapted from Aarti Paarti)
Serves 2-3 

For the fish:
2 T smoked paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne (more if you like it spicy)
2-1/2 malt vinegar
1 pound tilapia fillets (or use another mild white fish)

For the pickled shallots:
1 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 T sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

To finish:
Oil, for frying
Rice flour
Salt and pepper
Small handful of fresh cilantro, minced

1. Marinate the fish.  In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, turmeric, salt, and cayenne.  Add the malt vinegar, and stir until well combined.  Rub the marinade all over the fish, and arrange on a large plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight).
2. Pickle the shallots. Combine the water, cider vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then add the shallots and turn off the heat.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes, while you prepare the fish. 
3. Fry the fish.  Pour oil into a large, non-stick skillet to about 1/4-inch thick. You will probably need to either use two skillets or work in batches.  
4. Meanwhile, pour a generous amount of rice flour onto a large plate and season generously with salt and pepper.  
5. Test to see if the oil is hot -- sprinkle a bit of the rice flour into it, and if it sizzles right away, you're ready to go.  
6. Dredge the fish in the rice flour, and then place into the hot oil.  Cook 3-4 minute son the first side and then flip and cook 2-3 minutes on the second side, until beautifully browned and crispy.  
7. While the fish is frying, finish the pickled shallots.  Scoop them out of the pickling liquid into a small bown (reserving the pickling liquid).  Stir in the minced cilantro.
8. Serve the fried fish hot, topped with the shallot-cilantro mixture and drizzled with a little of the reserved pickling liquid.

Check out the other Secret Recipe Club posts from this month here:


  1. Glad you liked this recipe, its been a while since I made it. And that fried fish sounds excellent - a twist to fish and chips:)

  2. This looks amazing! I am definitely going to have to try those potatoes. I used to think I didn't like chickpeas, but now I absolutely adore them.

    And the fish? I bet my husband will love that. He may never be interested in a regular, ordinary fish fry again.

  3. Okay, I am looking away from the pickled shallots, but everything else looks delish! I would have never thought to add chickpeas to potatoes - yum!

    1. I bet you could do the pickle with another crunchy veg...maybe shredded carrots or matchstick cucumber? Definitely worth adapting. :)

  4. I would never have thought to pair these ingredients together, but WOW, does it sound tasty!

  5. That dish looks amazingly delicious and I bet full of flavor!

  6. what a great meal! i've been into indian lately, i might have to try this soon.

  7. I've often made similar Indian potato dishes, but never one with chickpeas in it - can't wait to try. Great accompaniment to fried fish.