1tablespoonfresh cilantro or coriander leaf, chopped (optional)
This recipe requires a medium (10-inch) skillet with lid, or a 4 quart sauté pan with a lid.
Method for making Masala Aloo
Parboil the potatoes in boiling water. A knife inserted into the potato should pull out smoothly when you try to lift the potato with it.
Drain and cool the potatoes until you can handle them with your hands. Peel the skins from the potatoes and chop them into half-inch cubes. Set aside until needed.
Heat the oil in your skillet or sauté pan and add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Watch carefully. When over half the mustard seeds pop, and the urad dal turns golden brown, add the turmeric, red chile, and salt, and sauté about 30 seconds to release the aroma. Quickly add the potatoes and mix well using two spoons or a big spatula.
Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Roast on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes get brown and crispy.
Taste the potatoes and adjust for salt. Add chopped fresh cilantro leaves for extra flavor and color as an optional garnish.
These potatoes are extremely versatile. Serve them as a vegetable side dish with any Indian lentil or bean dal, and basmati rice. Or eat them alongside eggs as if they were your hash browns.
The potatoes can also be used as a filling rolled inside a flatbread or tortilla, or as a tasty toast topping.
There are a number of variations you could try with this dish. Try browning cumin seeds in the oil instead of black mustard seeds for a slightly different taste. Try adding onions, green onions, garlic, kale, or green peas, and sautéing the vegetables before adding the cooked potato.Ingredient SubstitutionsIf you do not have black mustard seeds, just leave them out of the recipe. You could try using cumin seeds instead, but careful when browning them in oil that they do not burn. You need to add your vegetables as soon as the cumin is browned.Urad dal looks like a tiny white lentil but it is actually a bean. It is used as a seasoning in South Indian cuisine. Its taste is nutty, and its texture is crunchy. There is no good substitute for urad dal as a seasoning. If you don’t have it, just leave it out.Turmeric, a bright orange root that looks like ginger, is commonly used in its powdered form for Indian cuisine. Its taste is mild, and complements most other flavors. Turmeric is essential, and easy to find in any grocery store. If you don’t have it, please buy it. It is used in almost every recipe.