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