Variations on this simply spiced, smashed potato dish are a staple of Indian food in almost every corner of the world. This quick and easy version is a riff on South Indian Aloo Masala. It is rich and creamy and unforgettably flavored using spices already in your cabinet or easily accessible. It's the perfect side dish for your favorite grilled protein or as a vegetarian main course for Meatless Monday.
One of my favorite South Indian dishes is Masala Dosa - a simple lentil crepe, hot and crispy and filled with spiced Indian potatoes. The ingredient list for that dreamy potato filling is shockingly short considering the memorable flavors and textures. It's a dish that works equally well with dosa pancakes as it does with a bowl of lentil dal or a plate of Indian-spiced salmon, and can even be used in Easy Baked Samosas.
There are a few keys to the success of this simple recipe. First, overcooking the potatoes. Some Indian potato recipes call for parboiling the potatoes, but I have found that overcooking the potatoes leaves them tender for the smashing phase of the recipe, and the extra water inside the potato flesh helps marry the spices and create a delicious dish. So leave your potatoes boiling just a bit longer than necessary.
Second, butter. It adds a luscious creaminess to the potatoes that's unforgettable. If you're looking for a vegan version, skip the butter or add your favorite plant-based spread.
Now you know all the secrets! Let's get our potato party started.
Ingredients for Indian potato recipe:
Potatoes: My preferred type of potatoes for this easy recipe are Yukon golds. They are the perfect mix of starchy and waxy, and most similar to the variety of yellow potatoes I find in Portugal. But almost any type of potato will work, including russet potatoes, red potatoes and baby potatoes.
Onion, Ginger, Garlic: The holy trinity of Indian cooking! I use yellow onions, fresh garlic cloves and grated fresh ginger in this recipe. Red onions or even scallions would also work.
Green Chili: In the US I would grab a jalapeno pepper, but whatever medium-spicy green pepper you can find will work for these spicy potatoes. And if you're not into spicy, add just a bit of pepper or skip the chili altogether.
Whole Black Mustard Seeds and Cumin Seeds: These warm and earthy spices cook along with our aromatics to create robust flavor and subtly crunchy texture. If you don't have cumin seeds substitute ½ teaspoon ground cumin powder, then taste and adjust seasoning.
Turmeric Powder: Vibrantly colored and distinctly flavored, turmeric is a staple of Indian cooking and a popular ingredient in curry spice powders. It is earthy and peppery and a little bitter, adding balance to the savory aromatics, spicy chilis and lemony-cilantro flavor. I tested this recipe using curry powder and different spice combinations, but always came back to turmeric for the clean, authentic flavor.
Fresh Cilantro: This fresh and vibrant herb is mixed into the creamy, spiced potatoes and then used to garnish the serving plate. Substitute chives or scallions, if needed. If you can get your hands on fresh curry leaves, that would be an amazing option to add to the mix, as well!
Neutral Oil, Butter, Salt: The building blocks of the recipe. Oil to bloom the spices and cook the aromatics, butter to add irresistible richness to the dish, and salt because what is life without it?
Lime Wedges (optional): The fresh acidity from a squeeze of lime compliments the cilantro and balances the buttery turmeric. Skip it if you're out of limes or use lemon wedges, instead.
Full ingredient measurements and directions included in printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for easy Indian potato recipe:
To begin, bring a pot of water to boil over high. Once boiling, add 2 teaspoons salt and whole potatoes. Cook until very tender, about 15-20 minutes, then drain. Once cool enough to handle, peel and roughly chop the potatoes into bite sized pieces.
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat neutral oil over medium. Add the diced onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and saute for 6 minutes.
Next, add salt and turmeric, and lower the heat. Cook another 2 minutes, allowing the spices to bloom and the onions to finish cooking.
Add the butter along with cooked and chopped potatoes. Toss and smash potatoes, incorporating them into the spice and onion mixture.
Add fresh cilantro and a few tablespoons water, if needed. Cook over low, allowing the potatoes to break down a bit and absorb the flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve potatoes topped with a few cilantro leaves and lime wedges.
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FAQ's and Serving Suggestions for Indian Potato Recipe:
My preferred type of potatoes for this easy recipe are Yukon golds. They are a good balance of starchy and waxy, and similar to the variety of yellow potatoes I find in Portugal. But almost any type of potato will work, including russet potatoes, red potatoes and Dutch baby yellow potatoes.
The green chili will add some heat to the dish, so add more or less based on your preference. If your chili isn't very spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red chili powder to bump up the heat.
To store, transfer cooked potatoes to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator up to 2 days. For reheating, spread the potatoes in a single layer in a large non-stick skillet. Cook over low-medium heat until heated through. To make your leftovers into crispy pan-roasted potatoes, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to your skillet when re-heating and set the burner at medium-high heat. Fry the potato mixture until golden brown and crisp, then turn and cook the second side.Print