Bombay Aloo (Bombay Potatoes)

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.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

SPACEHOLDER

  • 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)

METHOD

  1. 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.
  2. Add the oil or ghee to a frying pan on medium high heat.
  3. When hot, add the cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and the optional curry leaves, fennel seeds, and Asian bay leaf.
  4. Cook for 30-45 seconds, or until the mustard seeds start popping. Stir frequently.
  5. Now add the chopped onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for 30 seconds, or until the sizzling sound reduces.
  7. Then add the kasuri methi, mix powder, turmeric, salt, and Kashmiri chilli powder.
  8. 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.
  9. Add the tomato paste and turn up the heat to high.
  10. 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.

SPACEHOLDER

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Taste and season with salt, lemon juice, and/or mango chutney if you feel the need.
  5. For extra shine and deliciousness on your potatoes, add 2 tsp of butter ghee just before serving.
  6. Finely chopped coriander leaves make an excellent garnish for Bombay aloo.

NOTES

  • 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.
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