Food is tactile. That piece of roti wrapped around a warm piece of spiced potatoes, deftly popped in your mouth in a way that leaves a mark on only the top third of your fingers. If it's Achari Aloo that you are eating then in every bite you get a delicate crunch of seeds and spices. That savoury nigella seed, the sweet saunf, and heady cumin. Achari Aloo is a dish that reminds me of the magic of spices, of how combining things a certain way changes how they taste entirely.
Recently I have had several conversations around food, around what we as Pakistani cooks expect from a meal. The gold standard so to speak seems to be meals where there are several dishes that go well together at every meal. A meat dish, a sabzi or two, some rice, etc. Yet for those of us outside Pakistani, without the advantage of affordable domestic help that isn't always sustainable. I grew up with my mother doing the majority of the cooking. She is a good cook and practical woman so my expectation of food is simple. I truly believe that a good sabzi and roti are a great meal. A daal and chawal are comfort. Anything else with it is gravy, not that I have any problems with gravy lol.
Now enough philosophizing about how we eat, let's do a quick run down of Achari Aloo.
What is Achar?
Achar is the name given to a pickled condiment. Anything and everything can be pickled from carrots to mangoes to karelay. There are some spices that are common in all achar recipes
- kalonji or nigella seeds
- methi dana or fenugreek seeds
- saunf or anise
- rai or mustard seeds
- salt (a must)
- turmeric (sometimes)
Want More Sabzi Recipes?
I got you! check these ones out!
- Bhindi Masala
- Green Beans Sabzi
- Aloo aur Shimla Mirch ki Sabzi (Potato and Green pepper)
- Soya Aloo
- Kurkuri Bhindi
Hope you enjoy this veggie recipe. Would love to hear your thoughts below!
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ⅓ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp coriander seeds (lightly crushed)
- ½ tsp nigella seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp saunf
- ⅓ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 Onion (diced) - roughly half a cup
- A few curry leaves (optional)
- 4-5 Diced Potatoes (I usually do slim ½ cm thick pieces for quicker cooking)
- ½ tsp ginger garlic paste (or a ¼ tsp each)
- 1 Tomato (diced)
- 2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2-3 diced green chilies
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside
- Heat ¼ cup of oil in a saucepan with a lid
- Saute the onions on medium heat until the edges are turning golden brown
- Add the ginger garlic paste, saute for 30 seconds
- Now add in the achari masala ingredients and saute till aromatic
- Mix in the chopped potatoes and tomato, make sure you mix well.
- Cover and cook on low flame for 20 minutes, add a splash of water if the mix starts to stick.
- After 20 minutes check for doneness, if the potatoes are tender you can adjust consistency by adding water or drying it up (your preference)
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice then taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve topped with cilantro and chilies
This achari aloo recipe was so quick to put together and delicious too. Thanks
Thank you so much Reema!
Zahra Habib says
The easiest and most delicious aloo ever!
Fatima Ali says
Very easy and flavorful recipe.
Thank you Fatima! Glad you enjoyed it!
Samana Ali says
The aroma if the masalas in this dish took me back to karachi... such authentic flavours & needless to say we gobbled it down.
Aww Samana thank you!!! I am SO happy to hear that!
Could I use coriander powder if I’m out of coriander seeds? Thanks so much!
You totally can! The seeds add a nice texture as well, but powder will work for the flavour
Zainab Saeed says
Made it today and its so good! Finger licking good!
Thank you Zainab! I am SO happy you liked it!
Could this be made with less oil, and if so do I need to make any other adjustments to the recipe? 🙂
Hi Fizza! You can certainly reduce it by a tablespoon or so but at this quantity of onion not more than that. I do always suggested that you drain any excess oil before serving - hope you try it!
I have only seen dishes where you fry the coriander/cumin/fenugreek seeds in oil before adding onion; am I reading correctly that is not needed and you can just add after. Will it change flavor if I fry these first and follow rest of steps eg adding spices after onion fries
Hi Sam! Here it is not needed, pre frying those spices is done to release their flavours before adding liquids but in dish you can put them as instructed. If you want to put the whole spices in earlier then just be mindful of the temperature. Hope you like the dish!
Sunil Kelkar says
You made me fall in love with Pakistan. Not that we, the Pakistanis and the Indians, are very different but somewhere in the course of history, we have lost something that we both are desperate to get back. Like those two 'mele mein bichhde hue judwa bhai' often shown in bollywood blockbusters.
May we regain our lost souls soon.
That is so well put Sunil - here is to hoping for better times!