Bombay aloo is a very popular potato-based vegetarian dish, traditionally featuring mustard seeds and curry leaves, and is served in a very thick sauce.
This recipe will make enough for one as a main course, or two to three people as a side dish, and is one of many in my first award-winning book, Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 1.
- 300g Potato, peeled
- 3 TBSP Oil, Ghee, or a mixture
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- ¾ tsp Black Mustard Seeds
- 1 TBSP Curry Leaves (optional)
- ½ tsp Fennel Seeds (optional)
- 1 Tej Patta (Asian Bay Leaf, also optional)
- 75g-100g Onion, finely chopped
- 1½ tsp Ginger/Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
- 1 tsp Mix Powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 3 TBSP Tomato Paste
- 250ml Base Gravy (kept hot in a separate pan), plus a little extra to adjust
- 2 fresh Tomato quarters
- 2-3 tsp fresh Green Chilli (optional)
- ¾ tsp Amchoor (Mango Powder) or
- 1-2 tsp of Lemon Juice/Dressing
- 2 tsp Butter Ghee (optional)
- Sprinkle of fresh Coriander Leaves (chopped)
- Firstly, to pre-cook the potato, peel and chop into generous chunks. Simmer in boiling water for 10-15 minutes with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric, until the chunks are still a little firm in the middle. You can add extra whole spices to the water for added flavour.
- Add the oil or ghee to a frying pan on medium high heat.
- When hot, add the cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and the optional curry leaves, fennel seeds, and Asian bay leaf.
- Cook for 30-45 seconds, or until the mustard seeds start popping. Stir frequently.
- Now add the chopped onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for 30 seconds, or until the sizzling sound reduces.
- Then add the kasuri methi, mix powder, turmeric, salt, and Kashmiri chilli powder.
- Fry for 20-30 seconds, stirring diligently. Add a splash of base gravy when the spices start to stick to the bottom of the frying pan to give them enough time to cook without burning.
- Add the tomato paste and turn up the heat to high.
- Immediately add the pre-cooked potato and 75ml of base gravy. Stir together and leave to fry for 30-45 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan if the mixture is sticking too much and about to burn.
- Add a second 75ml of base gravy, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan once when first added, cooking down for another 30-45 seconds. You should let the sauce stick to the sides and the surface of the pan. This method helps give a sweet and slightly smoky taste.
- Then add a little more (50-75ml) of base gravy. Stir once, and leave to cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until you reach a very thick consistency. Add more base gravy as required during cooking (there will be a need because the potato will soak up the liquid). Avoid stirring and scraping unless showing signs of imminently burning. When you do scrape the pan, there should be a lot of thick caramelised bits to mix back in. It’s those bits which have the best flavour.
- A minute or two before the anticipated end of cooking, add the fresh tomato quarters, the lemon juice or amchoor powder, and the optional fresh green chilli.
- Taste and season with salt, lemon juice, and/or mango chutney if you feel the need.
- For extra shine and deliciousness on your potatoes, add 2 tsp of butter ghee just before serving.
- Finely chopped coriander leaves make an excellent garnish for Bombay aloo.
- Waxy varieties of potato such as Charlotte, Maris Peer and Jersey Royal are best for this recipe, as they hold their shape better than floury varieties. I have found the ones labelled ‘Baking Potatoes’ in supermarkets are very suitable.
- If you can get hold of fresh curry leaves I recommend using them in Bombay aloo. Failing that, the dried version is a lesser alternative but better than nothing.
- Kashmiri chilli powder is quite mild, and imparts the potato with a nice vibrant red colour. You can use an alternative chilli powder instead, bearing in mind the hotter nature of other types.
- All spoon measurements are level, i.e. 1 tsp=5 ml, 1 TBSP=15ml.