This simple curry was circulating around North London in the 1970s. It has no pretensions to be anything else.
Ingredients: 3 or 4 new potatoes, cubed; one onion, thinly sliced, one red chili, a few fresh tomatoes, a handful of fresh green beans, topped and tailed. 1 tsp ground cumin, the same of coriander, fenugreek seeds and cardamon pods. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds. 10g butter and the same of oil. 100g basmati rice, fresh coriander leaves, fresh lime, home made naan bread, mango chutney. Salt and pepper.
Other/alternatives, Fresh chopped ginger, curry leaves, lime pickle, yoghurt
In a 20cm cast iron pan on a medium heat, first add the butter and oil and then the mustard seeds. Stir around with a wooden spoon until the seeds begin to pop, then add the onions, chili, and all the dried spices. Keep stirring gently while you put in the potato cubes, then the chopped tomatoes. When the potatoes have begun to soften, add a cup or so of water and leave to simmer. By the time the potatoes are cooked there should be a thickish aromatic sauce. If it seems too thin to you, just mash up a few cubes and incorporate them as a thickener.
Meanwhile, wash the rice and cook it in a large pan. Use the technique you find easiest, but equal quantities of rice and salted water usually works here. Just before it is done put the prepared beans on the top to steam, then cover and after a few more minutes turn off the heat.
Open up the rice, take out the beans and transfer them to the curry pan. Add chopped fresh coriander and fold everything together.
Serve with wedges of fresh lime, pickle and home made naan bread. A quick raita, made from yoghurt, lime juice and coriander leaves is very refreshing too.