Baby Potatoes with Dijon Mustard and Rosemary

I grew up in Delhi where my upbringing was anything but normal. My father was probably the most unorthodox of Indian fathers – he used to take me duck hunting (my sister and I had to sit at the back of his Vespa and hold his shotgun and all his other hunting supplies) in the winters, or trek through the woods that surrounded Delhi in search of partridges or practice target shooting in our backyard!  He was an expert on Hemingway and taught at a prestigious Indian university.  His little kitchen garden was his pride and joy.  So he was a professor by day and a part-time farmer by evening.  This kitchen garden of his was the bane of my life. Every evening when I wanted to go out and play with the kids from the neighborhood, he would make me walk through his vegetable patch and give me the complete show-and-tell of his most recent produce. One year, among other things, he grew potatoes and I was made to sort through mounds of dirt to separate the little potatoes from the caked mud. The hardest thing was to distinguish the little suckers from balls of dirt (they were both the same size and the same color). However, I do remember that the tastiest potatoes from that crop were the smallest marble sized ones – which took the most time and effort to harvest and clean!
Last week, while walking through the aisles of Whole Foods, I found a bag of mini potatoes that reminded me of the year when my father made me help him sort through piles and piles of dug up dirt to pick out the potatoes and how much I resented having to do that work. The sight of those potatoes at Whole Foods made me smile – the weird thing is that after all those years of cribbing, cursing under my breath and vowing never to do this work when I had control over my own life, I actually made a kitchen garden of my own and I totally love it. The only difference is that I don’t make my kids do any of the work in it and I am sure even if I tried, these are kids of a different generation and they would refuse to do it no matter how much I threatened.
Anyway, last week I bought a pound of the baby-potatoes and cooked them with a little bit of Dijon mustard and rosemary for flavoring. They came out absolutely delicious and I ate them as a side dish. But the next time I think I will use them as hor d’oeuvres at a dinner party – they’d go perfectly well with beer or wine!


1.    I lb of baby/mini potatoes – or use fingerling potatoes
2.    One medium onion
3.     1-2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
4.    2 teaspoons of garlic powder
5.    1.5 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
6.    One fresh lemon
7.    One teaspoon of peppercorns
8.    Salt to taste
9.    1-2 teaspoons of honey
10.    2 small fresh rosemary sprigs


1.    Wash the potatoes in cold water and cut them into small even sized bites (if they are the very small marble sized ones, no need to cut them).
2.    Place the potatoes in a pyrex or any microwave-safe dish with about 2-3 tablespoon of water and heat them in the microwave for 3-4 minutes on high heat (this way we can cook and soften them up).
3.    Peel and slice the onion.
4.    Wash the rosemary sprigs and finely chop the leaves.
5.    Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat.

6.    When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion pieces to the pan and cook them over medium heat for 5-6 minutes (until they look translucent) – stir them constantly or they may burn.
7.    Add the microwaved potatoes to the pan and stir thoroughly and continue cooking the potatoes.
8.    Using a zester, zest one yellow lemon and add the zest to the pan.

9.    In a mortar pestle, coarsely grind the peppercorns and add the ground pepper the pan.

10.    Also add the garlic powder, salt and chopped rosemary leaves and let the potatoes cook for another 3-4 minutes (stir regularly).
11.    Juice one lemon (the one you had zested earlier would be best, I guess) and add the juice to the honey and Dijon mustard and whisk these ingredients together to make a dressing
12.    Add this dressing to the pan and stir all the contents of the pan thoroughly so that all the potatoes are covered with the dressing. Continue cooking the potatoes for another minute or two.

13.    When they are cooked, pour a little bit more of extra virgin olive oil over the mini-potatoes. Serve these potatoes either hot as hor d’oeuvres or as a side-dish or even chilled as a salad.


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  1. Permalink Submitted by Surbhi on Sat, 22/09/2012 - 23:09

    Sounds Yum Shabnam. Better yet are the memories of Uncle’s kitchen garden. My Dad had one too and I remember getting fed up eating Lauki from it. We took to plucking them before my Dad did and and giving them off to neighbours so that we did not have to eat them. We had the potatoes to and I remember sorting them and hosing down the dirt with the garden hose.

  2. Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Sun, 23/09/2012 - 02:49

    Hi Surbhi – since you know my father you know that I am not exaggerating…he would totally control every evening of mine, so I wasn’t able to play with you guys! I remember your kitchen garden too – it was right behind our house (before we moved to the last house behind the Director’s house) – LOL – the lauki story is very funny!!!! – which neighbors benefited from your little trick? – OH we had some good times growing up, didn’t we? 🙂

  3. Permalink Submitted by Shilpa Patel on Wed, 26/09/2012 - 23:14

    Your Dad’s garden reminds me of my own father’s vegetable patch. He grew all sorts of things in his garden and would spend hours weeding and tending to his plants. He wore only Gandhian garb when he grew older (khadi kurta-pajama) and had special “capri” length pajamas made so that he could crouch in his vegetable patch without them getting all muddy!!! He looked quite a sight with his strange outfit and a Nehru cap on his head. He also had fruit trees – mango, custard apple, and of course the ubiquitous papaya. His vegetables were not pretty – he used no herbicides or synthetic fertilizers – but they were really tasty. His methi was wonderful and just so intensely flavoured. He dried a batch of it and brought it for me one time – and the smell just filled up my entire apartment, even through a sealed bottle, it was so strong! We are lucky to have such amazing, loving memories of our youth.

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 27/09/2012 - 14:25

      Shilpa, the weird thing is that I used to dread the time my dad made me spend in his veggie-endeavor and now after all these years I realize that I have amazingly pleasant memories of it…it was the the time that he spent with me each evening, planting, watering, weeding, pruning and picking. Those were the best of times I had with him. The vegetables tasted great too 🙂

  4. Permalink Submitted by Rupali on Thu, 27/09/2012 - 11:07

    Shabnam, made these yesterday – served with slow cooked turkey shanks – it was yumm. The zing of the mustard was great to lift the flavours with the milder turkey. A green salad and garlic bread completed the meal. Thanks.

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 27/09/2012 - 14:27

      Sounds like a great meal, Rupali – now I want the recipe for the Turkey Shanks! I have never made those – we just make the whole turkey once a year in the US (Thanksgiving!)…

      • Permalink Submitted by Rupali on Fri, 28/09/2012 - 05:06

        Any marinade is good for the turkey, Shabnam. I baked them at 160degrees C – you will have to check the conversion. 10-12 mins for every 100 gms. Cover with al. foil for half the cooking time and remove the cover for the rest. The regular – turn over halfway to get even browning. I had used lemon, herbs, garlic, a dash of balsamic, salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

        • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Fri, 28/09/2012 - 21:52

          THANKS Rupali – will have to try this some time soon 🙂

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