When you have to cook every day, you tend to find short cuts to make the recipe flavorful, yet simple and less time- consuming. I am no different. When I truly cannot figure out what to cook for dinner I resort to some old-fashioned recipes from the kitchens of my mother and grandmothers. You get the point – something that brings back childhood memories and reminds me of home. Though I don’t follow every detail in the recipe, my adaptation lies is giving a traditional recipe a new twist or a simple face lift. That’s precisely what this Buhtanee Song is.
Konkani cuisine has diverse flavors. That said, some traditional staples continue to rule their position in most, if not all, Konkani households. One such is a recipe for spicy potatoes called “buhtetah song” ; buhtetah = potato, song = spicy sauce. (Don’t ask me why the name ‘song’? Wish I found an answer for this. Nonetheless, I like the name, may be because I grew up eating ‘song’. I continue to cherish memories revolving around ‘song’ in my grandmother’s kitchen.)
‘Song’ in Konkani cuisine is a curry base that consists of – onions, tomatoes, red chili powder, salt and turmeric. Some add cumin seeds, while others prefer ground cumin as variations, based on the vegetables used. You can throw potatoes, cauliflower florets, peas, cannellini beans, etc into the curry base and the outcome is always a “song” prefixed by the Kokani name for the primary ingredient. The variations are many, however, the name “song” has stayed constant.
My mother has never cooked “butaanee song” ( buhtaanee = fresh green peas) and continues to stick with the potato song. Since we ran out of potatoes, I decided to add in frozen green peas, and that’s how we ended up making this recipe our own adaptation.
2 cups green peas, frozen or fresh
1 cup onion, chopped fine
1 cup tomatoes, chopped fine
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground red chili or cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 ½ tablespoons canola oil
½ cup water
In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté till the onions turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, cook until the tomatoes are done, around 5 minutes.
Add ground turmeric, cumin, salt and red chili powder. Mix well. Cook for a minute.
Next, add peas, gently stir and add water. Mix well and cook covered for about 7-8 minutes.
Cook uncovered on low heat for about 5 minutes, till there is no more water left.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice (OR rotis – If gluten can be tolerated).