Writing in the middle of my vacation from my beloved hometown. Amritsar, the holy city, right next to the border they drew when they partitioned Punjab. There is a lot I can tell you about Amritsar food, and I probably will sometime. But right now, I just want to talk about this one curry from Amritsar's culinary repertoire. I want to talk about aloo-wadi.
Wadis are sun-dried spheres of urad dal cooked with lots of black pepper and red chillies. You can get wadis at most grocery stores in Punjab but the true Amritsaris go to those tiny stores in the old walled city. We have a favorite store to buy wadis and pappads. Every family does!
Before I tell you how to cook wadi, a word of warning. Wadis are very, very spicy and definitely not for the faint-hearted. The two most popular ways to cook wadi are with bottle gourd or a curry with potatoes. I've never cared much for the gourd family, so aloo-wadi it is.
Break wadi into small pieces. Heat a tsp of ghee in a pan and fry wadis for a minute, taking care not to burn them. Remove and set aside. Puree a large onion and 2 tomatoes into a paste. Heat a tbsp of ghee and fry the tomato-onion paste until ghee separates. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric and stir for another minute. Now add the wadi and 2 potatoes, cubed. Stir fry on low heat for a couple of minutes, then add 1/2 tsp salt and a cup of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
Sprinkle some garam masala and chopped coriander and serve with roti. It's a good idea to serve some plain yogurt alongside the curry to balance the spice. At the very least, have a few glasses of water ready. These ugly brown rounds truly pack a punch.
Srivalli, the spicy aloo-wadi is coming over to your Curry Mela.