Friday, December 26, 2014

Batate Vaagu(Special Potato Song)

Song(Saung) is a typical GSB curry made with mainly potatoes, onions and sometimes added tomatoes green peas or even tender cashew nuts. It can be made with added grated coconut, ground coconut masala or just with tamarind extract and chilli powder. Vaagu is a type of song made with coconut masala. This is especially prepared as a delicacy at wedding or similar feasts. In Konkani 'Vaagu' means tiger. This dish is fiery hot and tangy as per tradition but now a days we make it spicy, tangy and sweet.
As far as my memory goes, my mother seldom made this vaagu. I first tasted it at Taj Mahal cafe in Car Street where this curry named 'Special Song' is with chapathis, Thuppa Dosa, Khaali Dosa or Theek Rotti. Taj Mahal still makes this dish and is the best I have tasted anywhere in a restaurant! I've also tasted fantastic vaagu prepared by my ex-colleague Bantwal Gopalkrishna Pai's wife, and at a function where a cook par excellence from Bantwal by name Nagesh made this as side dish along with rice shevain or string hoppers.

Essential ingredients of vaagu are boiled peeled and cubed potatoes, chopped onions, tomatoes, grated coconut, fried red chillies, salt, tamarind, roasted coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder and a seasoning in coconut oil with mustard seeds and curry leaves, optional urad daal. You may add a piece of jaggery to highlight other tastes and also garnish with chopped coriander leaves for that special flavour. We just did that to make this delectable and close enough to how they make special song at Taj mahal Cafe.

It is fairly easy to make this, but keep in mind that this is a special dish. So, wee bit more oil goes into it.
Baby Onions 
Potatoes - 2 medium(125Gms), boiled peeled and cubed into 1/2" pieces
Onions(Preferably baby onions) - 200Gms cut into big chunks
Tomatoes - 1 big(75Gms) chopped into big pieces
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Red short chillies - 4-6
Red long chillies(Byadgi) - 4
Coriander Seeds - 1 Tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/8 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tsp
Tamarind - Cherry size ball
Jaggery - A small piece(about 10Gms)
Salt - To taste
Coriander leaves - A handful chopped
Coconut oil - 4 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Daal - 1 Tsp(Optional)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Roast red chillies, coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds with few drops of oil till crisp.
Grind along with grated coconut, turmeric powder, jaggery and tamarind to a fine paste.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or kadai.
Prepare seasoning with mustard seeds, optional urad daal and curry leaves.
Add chopped onions and fry on high flame till transparent and golden.
Add chopped tomatoes and the ground masala.
Fry well till oil leaves the sides.
Add 1/2 cup water and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 10 mins.
Once the onions are slightly tender, add the  boiled cubed potatoes and mix.
Cook for another 5 mins when the gravy thickens.
Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves.
Serve hot with rice and daalithove, chapathis, pooris, idlis, string hoppers or with dosas. 
If you're serving this with chapathis or other items, make the gravy slightly thin. 


Unknown said...

Perfect recipe - turned out so tasty!!!

Rajanikanth Shenoy, Kudpi said...

Thanks for the feedback Lata K.


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