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Panchphoran Aloo (Potatoes in Whole Spices)

by . Featured in HOW TO EAT
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Introduction

I’ve been cooking Sameen Rushdie’s Panchphoran Aloo - as these are properly called - ever since her wonderful book, Indian Cookery, was first published in 1988 and, indeed, I wrote about them in my first book, How to Eat, published 10 years after. In other words, they’re a constant in my life, and once you make them, you will see why.

I’m afraid I mostly cook them not in the context of an actual Indian meal, but to accompany fried eggs for brunch at weekends, or to give pep to leftovers in the week or whenever; they’re also a must for my Christmas cold cuts, though we don’t need to think about that right now!

You can buy this particular mix of whole spices - panchphoran - ready mixed, though I just rummage through my very messy spice drawer gathering what I need, as I just wouldn’t let myself be without the wherewithal to make this on a greedy whim.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I’ve been cooking Sameen Rushdie’s Panchphoran Aloo - as these are properly called - ever since her wonderful book, Indian Cookery, was first published in 1988 and, indeed, I wrote about them in my first book, How to Eat, published 10 years after. In other words, they’re a constant in my life, and once you make them, you will see why.

I’m afraid I mostly cook them not in the context of an actual Indian meal, but to accompany fried eggs for brunch at weekends, or to give pep to leftovers in the week or whenever; they’re also a must for my Christmas cold cuts, though we don’t need to think about that right now!

You can buy this particular mix of whole spices - panchphoran - ready mixed, though I just rummage through my very messy spice drawer gathering what I need, as I just wouldn’t let myself be without the wherewithal to make this on a greedy whim.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Potatoes in Whole Spices
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6 as a side

Metric Cups
  • 900 grams potatoes (peeled)
  • vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 fresh red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • sea salt flakes (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or powder)
  • ½ teaspoon nigella seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 pounds potatoes (peeled)
  • vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 fresh red chile (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or powder)
  • ½ teaspoon nigella seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Method

  1. Slice the potatoes into ½-1cm / ¼-½ inch rounds and then dice these further into small evenly sized cubes.
  2. Using a wok or non stick frying pan, take the minimum amount of oil needed to cover the base of the pan and fry the cubed potatoes over a high heat for a couple of minutes. And then turn the heat down to medium and cover. (Use foil if your pan doesn’t have a lid.)
  3. Once the potatoes are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes, add the turmeric, chilli and some salt, closely followed by the whole spices.
  4. Give the pan a good stir and then cover again and cook for about another 10 minutes; when the potatoes are nearly ready take the lid off and give a final blast of heat to enable any excess liquid to evaporate.
  5. Tip into a bowl, and scatter over the coriander.
  1. Slice the potatoes into ½-1cm / ¼-½ inch rounds and then dice these further into small evenly sized cubes.
  2. Using a wok or non stick frying pan, take the minimum amount of oil needed to cover the base of the pan and fry the cubed potatoes over a high heat for a couple of minutes. And then turn the heat down to medium and cover. (Use foil if your pan doesn’t have a lid.)
  3. Once the potatoes are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes, add the turmeric, chilli and some salt, closely followed by the whole spices.
  4. Give the pan a good stir and then cover again and cook for about another 10 minutes; when the potatoes are nearly ready take the lid off and give a final blast of heat to enable any excess liquid to evaporate.
  5. Tip into a bowl, and scatter over the coriander.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Leftovers will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a microwave until piping hot or eat cold, tossed with a little dressing, as a potato salad.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Leftovers will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a microwave until piping hot or eat cold, tossed with a little dressing, as a potato salad.

Tell us what you think

What 4 Others have said

  • These are so good..I love Pakistani food and this makes the most of aromatic whole spices which completely transform the humble potato.

    Posted by AishaMah on 9th March 2022
  • This is a staple here in Calcutta and can be relished with puri/chapati/roti/flat bread and even some rice with ghee! Thank you for sharing the recipe

    Posted by FiestyVirgoan on 13th May 2021
  • Brilliant cold as a snack !

    Posted by Chickpeasplease on 3rd February 2021
  • Best potato curry ever and less fat compared with other recipes. Very tasty

    Posted by ityan on 17th January 2021
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