I’m always curious and when I saw Ottolenghi’s recipe for spuds in last weeks Guardian I noticed there was an Iranian lime in it.
I had bought some dried limes in the Turkish supermarket some time back as I had seen a few recipes that called for limes but of course once I had some it seemed to go quiet on the dried lime front. This was the ideal opportunity for me to try them out. The recipe is quite simple ; spuds, butternut, onions etc., in a lightly spiced sauce. I didn’t have any butternut squash but I had a big Queensland Blue pumpkin which was an ideal substitute and of course I erred from the original recipe in a couple of other places too – scaling down the amounts and adding the fresh herbs toward the end rather than boiling them up.
The recipe began with cooking onions, cummin seeds and turmeric in clarified butter. I made some clarified butter – these instructions weren’t included in the original recipe – by gently cooking some butter in the pan until it frothed up and the milk solids went golden and sank to the bottom. I didn’t bother to strain it as I wasn’t bothered about the bitty bits, I just like the flavour, and continued as instructed. I didn’t have any tomato paste either so I grated fresh tomato in on top of the onions. This is always a handy trick when something like that is called for. I added in chunks of potato, pumpkin and the Iranian lime which I stabbed a few times as instructed and added a little salt and enough water tocover everything. Initially the lime bobbed about on the top like a life-buoy but with a little encouragement from my wooden spoon it did eventually submerge.
The oven was on and getting hot whilst the potatoes and pumpkin cooked until barely tender. Next in were a few quartered tomatoes, a whole chilli, a spoonful of currants (instead of barberries which I have never found in West Cork) a bunch of spinach and a big handful of coriander and tarragon. I gave everything a big stir then dumped it into an ovenproof dish and popped it into the oven for about fifteen minutes.
We ate this with rice and a dollop of yoghurt as advised and it was delicious. The lime gave a delightful tartness to the dish and chilli had a spectacular effect when my unsuspecting diner chomped it before realising. If you make this dish and don’t feel like spiking your audience maybe take it out before serving!!
50g butter – clarified
half tsp turmeric
1 tsp cummin seeds
1 tomato or use 1 tbs tomato puree
4 small waxy potatoes
about 300g firm pumpkin
1 Iranian lime
1 whole chilli, split down one side
3 tomatoes, quartered
a small bunch of spinach
a handful fresh coriander
a handful fresh tarragon
1 dsp currants
Method as above