“When people are sick, all you need is this, dal, and rice,” says Sarah Ahmad of this Bangladeshi version of mashed potatoes, proving that comfort food is universal. But while mashed potatoes stand in as a synonym for blandness in much of America, the Bangladeshi version is a peppy picker-upper, with its zing of mustard oil. The dish itself can be customized based on personal tastes—with or without the egg, fresh chiles in place of dried, more or less garlic, served room temperature or warm—but the key element is the final application of mustard oil, fresh and raw, unadulterated by heat. While I was testing the recipe, Sri Lankan food writer Vidya Balachander tweeted that her comfort food was potato peels stir-fried in mustard oil—two things you’ll have on hand at when cooking this dish, and an excellent kitchen snack.
- Char the garlic and peppers in a hot, dry pan, until darkened and fragrant, about two minutes for peppers, five for garlic. Lightly chop.
- Heat four tablespoons of mustard oil over medium-low heat and add onions, cooking them lightly until just softened by not browned, about five minutes.
- Lightly mash the potatoes with your hands, then add onions and remaining oil, eggs, garlic, and peppers.
- Add the final two tablespoons of oil, the cilantro, and salt, and mash again until potatoes are smooth and all other ingredients are evenly distributed.
Award-winning food and travel writer Naomi Tomky uses her unrelenting enthusiasm as an eater, photographer, and writer to propel herself around the world. Follow her on Twitter @Gastrognome and on Instagram @the_gastrognome