Potato Masala – Aloo Masala

Aloo means potatoes and masala means mixture, a term we see in many cuisines especially in South Asia. This delicious Indian vegetarian dish is made with boiled potatoes then sauteed with a spicy onion confit. We think of India as a rice country, but I was surprised to learn it is the 3rd largest potato producer in the world. You see potatoes on every menu in India, especially for appetizers; whether being croquettes, or in Samosas, those fried triangle dumplings and in pakoras, which consist of vegetables mixed in a spicy batter and then deep fried. This Aloo Masala recipe is simple and can be served as accompaniment to a main course, or as in this case, the perfect combination for a Dosa. I boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker and they are ready in a few minutes. The potatoes should be cooked through as you want them almost ‘mushy’ or at least very soft. Make them ahead as they are even better the following day.

Serves 4 as accompaniment to Dosa or a side dish
5 potatoes peeled and parboiled – Cooked through and somewhat soft. Cut them in medium size cubes.

1 Onion finely chopped
1 Teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 Teaspoon Cumin seeds
2 dried Chilli peppers crumbled in small pieces
1 Tablespoon finely chopped ginger
Pinch of Asafoetida
6 curry leaves – I buy them fresh and freeze them
Pinch of Salt
1 Small green chilli – I buy them fresh and freeze them
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
3-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
It looks like a lot of ingredients, but this recipe can be put together quite rapidly.
I parboil the potatoes ahead of time. I use a pressure cooker and and when it is at this highest level, I reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 5-6 minutes. They may feel overcooked, but this is what you want, cooked through.
In a small bowl, combine the mustard, cumin seeds, chilli peppers, asafoetida, turmeric, green chilli and curry leaves.
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and when it starts to smoke, stir in the spices and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop… Add onions and cook until they start to caramelize, i.e. brown at the edges and translucent.
Add the potatoes and mix everything and cook them for a few minutes. I usually let them cook until they start to become a little crispy and then move them around.
Place them in a bowl and serve.

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