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Spicy Potato Curry Casserole

I know, I just posted a casserole recipe two days ago. That one was an inspiration for this one. How, you ask? It was actually Venkat’s idea. He loved the potatoes in my Vegetable Au Gratin and obviously didn’t care much for the broccoli.

Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

Him (after the first bite of au gratin) : “Hmm…this is nice, but can’t you make something like this with just potatoes…and maybe carrots, they’re nice in this.”

Me : “Yes of course, Potato Gratin is one of the most famous gratins, but you don’t like bechemel (white) sauce!”

Him : “Yes, so what, add a lot of hot sauce when you are making the white sauce, simple!”

(He actually ate the au gratin with hot sauce and that’s where the idea came up from).

Me : “Hmm..what if I add in some marinara for tang and use some Indian spices in it? You would like it like that right??

Him : ” Yes, but make sure the sauce is not too chunky, ohh.. and yes, we can eat that like a sandwich.”

Now do you see why I love this man?? He often gives me recipe ideas and this blog is here only because of his encouragement and support :)

But wait, before you think he eats everything I make happily – NO! There are some prerequisites before a dish can be eaten. It has to look good and smell great. “I eat with my eyes first” is his favorite line. I wait to see the expression on his face every time I make something I know he won’t like the looks of, but would love the taste. The expression is the same always ” What is this, not nice”. After a long pause ” Hmm…not bad, taste is okay” :). And he hates to see me wait for his comments. A girl needs at least a few hundred compliments everyday to survive, am I asking for too much :P???? But, between you and me, I confess, I do stare blatantly until he gives me a OK or not OK sign :D And if its a not OK, you can imagine what happens! :P

So that was an episode for our daily soap. What happens at your place?? Do you also desperately wait to hear how great your food tastes?? And totally avoid looking at HIM when you know he’s not going to like it :P Comments and suggestions are most welcome. I look forward to hear what happens at your place!

Now, the recipe, is rather simple. I did make everything from scratch but I will suggest a few variations to make it easy. The casserole did end up super tasty. The combination of creamy bechamel and tangy marinara sauce is awesome. The Indian spices add a kick and the flavors are amazing.

Ingredients:
Serves 4

Potatoes – 3 large
Carrots – 2 large
Onion (chopped)- 1 medium
Green Pepper/Capsicum (chopped)- 1 medium
Ginger (grated/minced/paste) – 1 tsp
Garlic (grated/minced/paste) – 1 Tbsp
Jalapeno/Serrano chilli (chopped) – 1 no.
Marinara Sauce/Crushed tomatoes – 2 cups
Bechemel sauce – 1 1/2 cups (Click here for the recipe)
Curry Powder – 1 Tbsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
Salt & Pepper – to taste
Red Chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp (use less if you don’t care for spicy food)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves (chopped) – 1/4 cup (divided)
Cheese – 1/2 to 3/4 cup (use cheddar or mozzarella or swiss)
Breadcrumbs – 1/4 cup
Parmesan cheese – 2 Tbsp (optional)
Butter/Olive oil – 1 Tbsp plus 1 Tbsp

Note: You may use any vegetable of your choice. Blanched cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, peas and cooked mushrooms are great options.

Method:

  • Slice the potatoes  and carrots thin (about 1/8 inch) using your mandolin or knife. Boil the potatoes and carrots separately until tender, but not too mushy. Use turmeric powder while boiling potatoes.
  • Drain the potatoes and carrots and keep aside.
  • Prepare the bechemel sauce as per the recipe given HERE. Keep aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp of butter or olive oil in a pan and add in the ginger, garlic and jalapeno. Saute for a minute. Then add in the onions and saute until they are soft and translucent.
  • Stir in the coriander powder, red chilli powder and curry powder and saute for just about 30 seconds, until aromatic. Add in the marinara sauce or crushed tomatoes and cook, covered for 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro. Cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Mix the tomato gravy and the white sauce together.
  • Mix together the breadcrumbs, remaining cilantro and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Grease a 9 by 9 inch casserole/baking dish with a little butter. Make a layer of the potatoes on the bottom. Top with 1/3 of the gravy. Layer the carrots on top and spread the next 1/3 of the gravy. Make another layer with rest of the potatoes and top with rest of the gravy.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs mixture on the top. Add the cheese on top of the breadcrumbs and cover the casserole snugly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in the center of your oven for 45 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve hot. We ate this with the sourdough bread rolls I made yesterday. It was yum!!!

Variation: If you want to make this easier, here is an alternative recipe using store bought ingredients. Use 1 small can of condensed mushroom soup/Alfredo sauce and marinara sauce. Cube the potatoes and boil them instead of slicing. Throw in some frozen vegetables and you will have a wonderful supper ready in 20 minutes plus of course the baking time.

Serve with some bread, and enjoy the sandwiches!

You might also like:

Vegetable Au Gratin (Vegetables baked in white sauce)

Masala Dosa with Erra Karam (Crepes with potato filling)

Aloo Bonda – Potato Chickpea flour fritters

Raw Jack Fruit Dum Biriyani – A Royal Indulgence!

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