Aloo Tamatar: Simple Potato Curry

It has taken a long time for Autumn to set in around here, as we’ve been enjoying a warmer-than-usual fall, but we’ve had some decidedly cooler days the last couple weeks. Yesterday, we bundled up and set out on a walk, seeing our breath in the middle of the day and remarking on the last brilliant red leaves still hanging on to their first home.  I thought about Thomas Hood’s poem: “No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! November!”

As fall deepens, I always begin to feel an onset of hibernation, and staying close to home and warmth sounds good—especially if my home is full of the smells of wintery stews and warming pots of something bubbling on the stove. With that in mind, I thought today would be the perfect time to share Minni’s last recipe: a delicious, spicy, potato-soup-like curry. It will  leave any tummy feeling satisfied and full, but takes only a few minutes—a blessing late in the afternoon on a cold, winter day when you need something for dinner, something hot, and filling, and good, but most of all, something fast. It also seems appropriately warming: the hot and spicy tastes of India, as well as the vibrant colors and sounds, contrast so starkly with the washed-out, wet day we’re having today here in the Pacific Northwest.

Doesn’t the mandarin orange and fuchsia of Minni’s sari warm you up just looking at it?

This would be lovely served with either of the recipes I’ve already posted from Minni: Sabudana, (savory tapioca curry), or Kale Chane (spicy black garbanzo beans). However, I would probably serve it just with rice or a flat bread (for sopping up the broth) and plain yogurt. This would make a great lunch dish, too.

Special Diets and Allergies: Vegan and dairy free if you serve without the yogurt, vegetarian, nut free, wheat free, soy free.

Aloo Tamatar

Serves 3 – 4

This potato curry is simple but delicious. The spicy tomato broth steams of cumin and garam masala, and the potatoes are tender and hearty. You can eat this alone, or serve it with rice, naan (traditional Indian flatbread), or a crusty bread that you might pair with any other soup. It’s quite versatile, too: leave out the cilantro if you like, omit the cayenne or increase it to add heat, or play around with the spices. I like this served with a large dollop of plain yogurt, which cools the spiciness and adds a nice creaminess to the dish.


3 small baking potatoes, peeled and cubed into large chunks
4 T olive oil
1 t mustard seed
1 t cumin seed
2 t chopped, fresh ginger
3/4 C crushed tomatoes (about 1/3 of a 14.5-oz can)
1/2 C chopped red onion
1 t salt
1 t cayenne
1/2 t turmeric
1 t coriander
1 t garam masala
1 1/2 C water
Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
Minced cilantro, for serving (optional)


  1. Fill a medium-sized saucepan two-thirds full and bring to boil over high heat.
  2. Add the potatoes, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Drain and set the potatoes aside.
  4. Clean the saucepan and replace on the stovetop. Pour in the oil and heat on medium-high for a minute or until hot.
  5. Add in the mustard seed, cumin, and fresh ginger and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the seeds begin to pop and let off their aroma, but not so long that they brown and burn.
  6. Add in the red onion, stir, and cook another 5 minutes until tender and brown.
  7. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, salt, cayenne, turmeric, coriander, and the garam masala and stir to combine.
  8. Add in the potatoes and the water and cook another 5 minutes. At this point, you can serve the curry, or reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until you’re ready to eat, up to 20 minutes or so.
  9. Ladle into bowls or over rice and serve with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro.

3 responses to “Aloo Tamatar: Simple Potato Curry

  1. Pingback: Easy, Creamy Potato Soup | The Joyful Pantry·

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