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Can I Use Ghee For the Panchphoran Aloo?

Asked by rorkoulas. Answered on 14th July 2023

Full question

One of my favorite things to eat in Indian cuisine is Panchphoran Aloo. I'm wondering if there is a reason that vegetable oil is used by NIgella instead of ghee? Just preference? Would ghee make it any better or worse?

Image of Nigella's Potatoes in Whole Spices
Photo by Lis Parsons
Panchphoran Aloo (Potatoes in Whole Spices)
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's recipe for Panchphoran Aloo (from HOW TO EAT) is a warmly spiced potato dish that adds warmly spiced flavour to eggs for in a brunch or to help to make leftover cold cuts into a more interesting meal.

Nigella uses vegetable oil as the potatoes need to be cooked at high heat and regular butter would brown and burn too easily. Also vegetable oil is usually on hand in the kitchen. However, ghee is clarified butter and can be used for frying at high heat, so we don't see any reason why you could not use ghee instead. You just need to add enough to give a thin layer of fat at the bottom of the pan, once the ghee has melted. Ghee has a slightly buttery flavour, which will complement the spices. However, we would avoid using olive oil as an alternative as it is not so good for high heat cooking and also the flavour can be too assertive.

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