Turmeric Mashed Potatoes

There are few dishes that can bring such a row to the kitchen as mashed potatoes. Essentially there are the purists who want absolutely no other taste in their mashed potatoes but potato. They will also make a scene if the mashed potato has any texture other than pablum. On the other side are the aggregators who are willing to experiment putting almost anything into the potato mash to break up the gustatory monotony.

Well, we are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. When it’s Thanksgiving, we want the mashed potatoes to be more traditional than avant grade. But it’s a long time until Thanksgiving, so we gave this recipe a try.

Spoiler alert for you purists: these mashed potatoes are yellow! And they are great, so take a walk on the wild side and give this recipe a try. Thanks to Floyd Cardoz for the recipe from his book, One Spice, Two Spice (2006) for this gem.

Don’t be afraid of the chana dal. This bean looks just like yellow split peas, but is quite different because it doesn’t readily boil down to mush. It’s more closely related to garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Chana dal is readily available now in grocery stores; look for it in the section of the store that carries ingredients from India. You can also get it on line; we use ishopindian.com from Wisconsin.


2 1/2 lb. equal-size Yukon Gold potatoes
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 Tbsp chana dal (hulled yellow split chickpeas)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Heaping 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste


Peel the potatoes and cut them in half (quarter potatoes if they are large). Cover potatoes with cold water by 2 inches in a 3-quart saucepan and simmer until just tender, 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.. Drain in a colander and return to the pan to let them dry slightly, about 2 minutes. While they are still warm, mash the potatoes using a potato masher or a ricer and keep them warm, covered.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over moderate heat until it shimmers. Add the chana dal and saute until light golden, about 1 minute. Add the onion, butter, and turmeric and cook the mixture, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until the mixture is reduced by half, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the dry mustard and honey in a small bowl. Whisk in about 1/4 cup of the cream mixture, then whisk the honey mixture, salt, and pepper into the reduced cream mixture.

Heat the mashed potatoes over low heat until warmed through and add the cream mixture, stirring until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6.

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