I first had this dish many years ago, as a ‘sabzi’ (cooked vegetables) in a ‘Rajasthani Thali’ in Mumbai. A ‘Thali’ is basically a meal or platter (usually round), in which, a selection of dishes such as gravies, ‘sabzi’, pickles, fried food etc. are served together with accompaniments such as rice, roti etc. It’s like a taster menu, if you will. A delicious ‘thali’ with varied tastes, textures and flavour is like my lunch dream every day! Anyway, the moment I ate it, I fell in love with it. It was simple, full of flavour and unique (at least for me).
I had never seen or tasted potatoes fried only in black spices. I feel potatoes taste great anyway, in almost any form, but this dish really intrigued me. I could not only taste the fried potatoes but each spice used in the sabzi!
I was thinking about this recipe (about blogging it) and so on a call I asked my friend Purnima (who is basically from UP but grew up in Gurgaon) if she’s heard of ‘Kaale Aloo’. She very casually said, ”yeaaa, it is very often made in our house, in fact, it is a common dish we make during ‘Vrat’ (which is fasting)”. Later, I realised, this dish is not so unique after all! And that, most North Indians are acquainted with it. Nevertheless, we then went on to discuss what went in the sabzi and how it was made. And to no surprise both our versions were more or less the same.
So here’s, the recipe for it!
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Prep time: 5 minutes
You will need:
- Potatoes- 4 medium-large sized, peeled and cubed
- Mustard seeds- 2 tsp
- Cumin seeds- 1 ½ tsp
- Nigella seeds (kalonji)- ½ tsp
- Whole dried red chillies- 3-4 nos, broken in half
- Fresh curry leaves- 2 sprigs (around 12-15 leaves)
- Black pepper powder- ½ tsp
- Cumin powder- 1 tsp
- Garam masala- ½ tsp
- Salt- as per taste
- Oil/ghee- 2 tbsp
- Boil the cubes potatoes in water with a pinch of salt till it is 90% cooked and set aside on a plate to cool and dry. If there is too much moisture and heat in the potatoes, it will crumble while frying.
- Place a skillet on medium-high heat, add the ghee and wait till it heats and starts smoking. At that point, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cumin seeds, nigella seeds (kalonji), whole red chillies, curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the potatoes to the spice mixture and then add the cumin and black pepper powder. Toss well and season with salt.
- Fry the potatoes on high heat for 2-3 minutes, tossing them occasionally, so they don’t burn. When the potatoes have a crispy layer on top, you can remove it from heat and serve hot! Enjoy!
P.S: Since, the potatoes were boiled before adding into the spice mix, the edges of the potato cubes soften when tossed in the skillet and crisp up when fried on high heat. This adds a wonderful texture to the fried potatoes.
Please try this recipe and let me know if you liked it!