Every Thursday (like many other Indians on many other days of the week), my staunchly non-vegetarian, whiskey-loving grandfather would decide to please the gods and fast. That only meant a day of carb-heavy, starchy, peanuty food all day.

A very  common breakfast on these occasions was Batatyacha Kees or what I like to call, Indian Hash Brown Potatoes. Amma would always make loads of this extra for us growing (horizontally) kids. It is quite heavy, given the fact that it is made from potatoes and peanuts. The cumin and chili add a nice zing but I love the crisp, chewy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan the best.

Perhaps I’m getting old, but I have begun realizing that old, traditional ways of treating food are getting lost in the maze of fancy new appliances. Through the My Jhola videos, I am trying to get some attention to traditional methods of cooking—in the Undhiyu video, I ground the masala on a traditional stone grinder and cooked it in a traditional brass pot; in this one, you’ll see the traditional winnowing fan. This beautiful piece of woven wicker is a common apparatus that is used in most Indian homes to clean grains and legumes. You should see women using it to a rhythm as they sing their way through an afternoon of household chores and still do a better job than most mechanized methods. I was taught by my grandma to use the winnowing fan, and I love the magic set of the paper-thin peanut skins flying away. Like fairy dust.

Here’s the recipe:

Batatyacha Kees (Grates Potatoes) or Indian Hash Brown Potatoes
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • Grated coconut garnish
  • A wedge of lime


Method:

  1. Place the peanuts in a pan and toast until brown spots appear and they begin to pop. (You could also do this in the oven at about 200 degrees centigrade on the middle rack for about 10 mins.)
  2. Rub the peanuts with a kitchen towel or in a winnowing fan to remove the skins.
  3. Blow lightly over the skinned peanuts to get rid of the skins.
  4. Cool completely and pulse in a coffee grinder to a coarse powder.
  5. Peel and grate the potatoes as thickly as possible.
  6. Heat the ghee in a pan or wok. Add cumin seeds and chopped green chili.
  7. Top with the grated potatoes. Season with salt. Cover and cook until almost done (about 2-3 minutes.)
  8. Add the ground peanuts and sugar. Cover and cook completely (another minute).
  9. Serve with a garnish of cilantro and coconut and a wedge of lime on the side.