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