Jeera Aloo, or stir-fried potatoes with cumin, is an utterly simple, six-ingredient, 20-minute dish you are guaranteed to fall in love with. Gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and vegan, of course.
The Indian festival season, which runs between the months of August and November, is a time for both feasting and fasting. Sure, there’s a ton of great food to be eaten during some of the biggest Hindu festivals that occur during this time, like Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Dusshera, and Diwali. But there’s also time built in to cleanse your body through an upvaas or vrat, when people either fast entirely, or eat tasty, mostly gluten-free foods.
Both the eating of the rich food and the abstinence from it occur for religious reasons, but even if one doesn’t buy into that sentiment, it doesn’t seem such a bad idea to break a period of heavy eating with the occasional fast to get things back into balance, does it?
One of the delicious foods served and devoured during the period of fasting is this scrumptious Jeera Aloo, a very simple but incredibly delicious side of potatoes flavored with cumin seeds.
If there ever was a flavor match made in food heaven, it has got to be cumin and potatoes. The smoky, earthy flavor of cumin is the perfect complement to the creamy, bland but delicious spud. I also like to add some curry leaves into this dish because they add yet another delicious flavor dimension. Coriander leaves are used traditionally in the north of India, so if you don’t have curry leaves or prefer coriander, you can definitely use that instead.
It goes without saying that you don’t need to be on a fast to eat this dish. So far as I am concerned, Jeera Aloo is a treat for any season. Served with dal and rice, it can turn an ordinary day into one you will want to celebrate.
- 4 large potatoes, boiled and cubed (use any kind. A potato that will hold its shape is better, like a yellow or red, but russets will work here too).
- 1 tsp vegetable oil of any kind
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 20 curry leaves (can sub with 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 green chili peppers, like jalapeno or serrano, finely minced. Deseed if sensitive to heat.
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a wok or large fry pan. Add the cumin seeds and as they start to darken slightly, add the curry leaves, green chili peppers, and turmeric.
- Stir quickly to mix and add the boiled potatoes.
- Stir-fry the potatoes for a couple of minutes to warm them through. Add salt and turn off heat. You can squeeze some lemon juice into this sabzi, but I prefer it without any.
- Best served warm with dal and rice. Try with my Garlicky Spinach Dal
More fabulous feasting and fasting foods from the archives: