Jeera aloo

Mallika Basu - Jeera aloo

60 years young, auntie Maggie (or Madge) is infamous for all sorts of misdemeanours.

Like nicking her neighbour's fresh herbs and passing them off as her own. And giving her 28-year-old nephew a rather risque playboy bunny costume for his birthday. A befitting senior member of a family of nutters. Madge was furious with us for showing up seven hours late to her country home on Saturday. Quickly realising we were not going to join her for lunch she abandoned her attempts to cook it midway, waiting in the garden with a bottle of wine, her man and the cat for company. By the time we arrived, Maggie was ready to skin her beloved cat (and any of us if we got in the way). And one quick glass of wine later, we were marched off to the local jazz performance at Arundel festival. On our return, it became quickly evident that Madge's half made lunch was now going to be dinner. Luckily for me, it was a soft and flavoursome cumin cauliflower potato. Unluckily for the others, it was just that. The remaining £145-worth of food shopping had been stashed away for a colossal barbeque the following day. As I ate the cumin cauliflower potato with mango pickle for dinner, I was inspired to cook it at home. Only this time, as a side dish to something equally simple for a weekday meal. So here is a simple jeera aloo - soft new potatoes steeped in sizzling cumin with no pre-boiling or peeling required. It's the cat's whiskers for lovely Madge.


In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium high flame. When it is hot, add the hing and almost immediately the whole cumin and red chilli.

As they sizzle up, toss in the new potatoes and stir them through the cumin. Then mix the cumin, coriander and chilli powder in half a cup of hot water and pour it over the potatoes.

Stir the potatoes vigorously to mix it well into the spices. Add salt now to taste, making a lovely rounded masala, or spice mix, for the potatoes.

Now cover the pan and let the potatoes cook. Lift the lid off every two to three minutes and give them a good stir ensuring they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If the water bubbles away, add two tablespoons more, repeating this process until you can insert a fork through the bone dry potatoes easily.

The potatoes should be sautéed dry. If they are cooked through but you still have too must moisture in the pan, take the lid off and let the moisture bubble away, while you stir the potatoes gently. Check your jeera aloo for salt and enjoy.

23 responses to “Jeera aloo”

  1. yash says:

    Oh! my sister loves these. And what’s better, its her birthday today! only, she’s at home in akola, and I’m here in oakville.

    Just to let u know, I did a post (that I’ll be publishing,… soon…) about my first time cooking paneer butter masala. I used ur recipe….well, a little… and thank you so much for that!

  2. Nags says:

    awesome pic! i make this dish all the time, but i have never cut the potatoes in this shape. will try it next time 🙂

  3. Ashok Mukherjee says:

    Very good recipe,surely I will try myself soon

  4. Zlamushka says:

    This is a real funn story. What a goofy auntie you have 🙂

  5. sandeepa says:

    Love your Aunt as well as the aloo

  6. Asha says:

    LOL @ the title and the aunty!

    Aloo Jeera looks yum:))

  7. sia says:

    LOL… guess i too am ‘nuts’ enough to cook and enjoy jeera aloo. ur aunt sounds like a adventurous lady whom i will love to spend time with 😀

  8. Meena says:

    Is that grilled chicken in the background? Lokks divine!! Need… recipe… quick! 🙂

  9. TBC says:

    I make this all the time but it has never looked half as good as yours! Beautiful pic.

  10. Srivalli says:

    you have a very nice blog here…jeera aloo looks good…

  11. […] Getting Started « Jeera aloo for a bunch of nutters […]

  12. Mangs says:

    mallika, i love you!

  13. Hi, you have a super site. Great going

  14. Tammi says:

    Made this the other day, so easy…and almost your exact recipe ::grin:: I rarely follow a recipe exactly anyway…but I didn’t have ground coriander. My daughter in law loved it and made me write down the recipe. I also made it with Ceylon Chicken that I modified a bit…have this lovely coriander chutney that I put in it, very nice flavor. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. aiQUANT says:

    I am going to cook this with the fish

  16. […] likely to be gluten-free, barring any suspicious spice mixtures added. Here’s another simple Aloo Jeera recipe, as well as an authentic Punjabi version from Sanjeev […]

  17. […] decided to “slowly, slowly catchy monkey”. I cooked the masala fish and jeera aloo in front of her and then a very simple spinach […]

  18. Abhinav says:

    Came to this site via google .. great site .. i have not made jeera aloo using raw potatoes .. for new comers who i suggest use boiled potatoes and cook the same way as specified.

  19. Mallika says:

    Hi Abhinav – I only recommend raw “new” potatoes, which are small and cook very quickly. For normal potatoes, par boiled works best otherwise you’ll end up with jeera aloo mash!!

  20. Great article – It’s taken a bit of looking to find this. Thank you!

  21. diva says:

    Yuckkkk… these look so unappetizing and bland. I don’t know where you learned Indian cooking… ewwww

Leave a Reply to diva Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *