I don’t think I have ever met an Adeni who does not like this dish. It’s from among the street food sold in Aden. Some even sell it from their homes. I remember in our street in Aden, there was a woman–we used to call her “Gidda Um Al Bataat” [meaning the grandma who sold potatoes], who lived at the end of the row of houses who made and sold them. They were irresistible, just absolutely delcious. Sisters used to meet at her place, for a chat and a spicy bowl of Bataat Abu Humar. Oftentimes the sisters residing in the same building would meet on the terraces and cluster round a big pot of this. Today more and more sisters from the rest of Yemen have been introduced to this dish, and so far none have I met who haven’t told me they don’t like it. So, let’s start Bismillah. You will need [to serve 4-5 people]:
1) 1-1 1/2 lbs of small potatoes [any kind would work, but I found some small red potatoes at my local farmers market]
2) Fistful of unsweetened tamarind soaked in 2 cups of water and strained [make sure to let it soak overnight]. You can also use some concentrated Tarmarind from any Middle Eastern or South Asian store. If you use the concentrated kind use 1 tbslp ONLY.
3) 1/2 cup of red chilly sauce [soak some dry red chillies in water overnight and then place in blender and blend well. Store in an airtight container int he refrigerator]
4) 3 tblsp of ‘ushar [pickled lemon]–optional
5) salt to taste
6) chopped cilantro for garnish
7) 3 tbslp of Canola oil [vegetable or corn oil would work as well]
In a pot full of water boil the potatoes until soft, but not mushy. Make sure they don’t fall apart. Once done run through a sieve and cool the potatoes with some cold water to stop the cooking process. You can either peel the potatoes or leave the peel one like I did, and halve. Then in a pot under medium high heat add the oil and the red chilly pepper. Let it simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the pickled lemons, and the tamarind and let simmer for another 3 minutes. Add salt, potatoes and half a cup of water and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot. If you like it a little spicier you can add some green red chill–pickled or regular. Enjoy.