Homemade Mondays: Vegan Aloo Mash with Chapates

A few years ago we met a lovely lady who taught us how to prepare and enjoy a few Indian dishes. After picking up a taste for it, I started looking into more fun meals that would be easy to prepare and fun to eat. Somehow I came across a recipe for something calling itself “Aloo Bhartha” which my family loved and quickly became a staple. Except that in Hindi, that actually means “Potato Eggplant”. Since there is no eggplant involved, we’ve renamed it (because it’s still delicious, whatever it is and however much it’s not a traditional Indian dish). Also, if you can or will eat butter I highly recommend cooking your chapates in ghee instead of coconut oil like me. Yumm…..butter……

Lastly, this is a good thing to serve with a salad or some other kind of vegetable because otherwise it’s kind of a starchy meal.

Vegan Aloo Mash


2 smallish potatoes per person, well washed

1 medium onion per 4 people, peeled and chopped

a little oil for the pan (avocado, coconut, or your favorite cooking oil)

whole cumin seeds, 1-2 tsp (to taste)

whole yellow or black mustard seeds 1-2 tsp (to taste)

turmeric (to taste)

salt (to taste)


Roughly chop the potatoes. Boil as you would for mashed potatoes, until a fork goes easily through them. No need to peel, as long as they’re clean. I cut out bad spots and leave the peels because they are a good source of iron!

Once the potatoes are done, turn them off and set them aside. Heat oil over medium heat in a large fry pan for a minute. Add onions, cumin, and mustard seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds begin to crackle a bit. Have a potato masher handy, if you have one (if not, you can mash the potatoes in whatever way you usually do…like with a mixer or whatever). Add the potatoes a little at a time, mashing them up well with the spices and onions before adding more. Add turmeric and salt to taste, and water for texture as you go. You might have to try some to get the flavoring just right. 😉



(sourdough starter)

flour (I use spelt, but whatever all-purpose-ey sort of flour you use will be fine)



coconut oil (or ghee)


Start with sourdough starter if you have it, or a cup of water if you don’t. Add flour a little at a time until you have a workable dough. If your dough gets too dry, add a little water and keep mixing. These roll out on a floured surface much like flour tortillas. Roll them as thin and round as you can while keeping them easy to pick up (mine are often not very round).

Heat a griddle or large fry pan over medium/high heat. Put a chapate on, then put about 1/2-1 teaspoon of coconut oil in the center. Roll out the next chapate while this one is cooking. Once there are small brown spots on the bottom, flip and cook for 30 seconds or so on the other side. Transfer to a serving plate and put the new chapate on, and so on and so forth. If they are cooking too fast for you to keep up, turn the heat down a bit.

Serve chapates and aloo mash immediately with hot sauce or chutneys of your choice, fresh coriander (cilantro), or just plain.

To reheat leftovers, add a little water to them and stir until they are as hot as you like and have the right texture.


A Food Quandary

Right now I am trying to figure out what I think about factory farming as it relates to my own and my family’s eating.

I have a problem with eating pigs that didn’t get to have tails. Or chickens that were never allowed to spread their wings. Or cows that ate, um, other cows (yuck!). I have not bought food with any of these things in quite some time and I have come to a point where I have a hard time eating said food in restaurants or at friends’ houses.

But I have another conflicting problem…people are very, very important to me and I don’t want to make it hard for people to relate to me. If I sit down at someone’s table and they put pepperoni pizza in front of me, what do I do? Is it more important to share in the meal and so advance our relationship by being ‘a part of’, or is it more important to stick to my value of eating in a thoughtful way?

People I really love don’t share my value regarding ethical treatment of animals. Is it important to share a meal with them, thereby affirming our friendship? Yes. Is it important to me to be able to eat food that I can identify all (or at least most) of the ingredients of and that was produced in a way that isn’t wasteful or cruel? Yes.

It is difficult to sort out what to do in this instance, but I often come up against the problem of how to think about it when my own actions don’t match up to what other people are used to. It’s not that I expect everyone else to conform to my way of doing things…most people are not going to use cloth diapers, make their own toothpaste, or grind their own flour. I’m fine with that. But when people hear that I do these things, sometimes they take it as a silent rebuke or they assume that I am out to spread the gospel of baking soda as a cleaning agent. Paul told the Romans that they should always be ready to give an answer about themselves to anyone who asked. I guess I’ll start there.