Jeera aloo for a bunch of nutters

Cumin flavoured stir-fried potatoes


60 years young, auntie Maggie (or Madge) is infamous for all sorts of misdemeanours.

Like nicking her neighbour’s fresh herbs and passing them off as her own. And giving her 28-year-old nephew a rather risque playboy bunny costume for his birthday.

A befitting senior member of a family of nutters.

Madge was furious with us for showing up seven hours late to her country home on Saturday.

Quickly realising we were not going to join her for lunch she abandoned her attempts to cook it midway, waiting in the garden with a bottle of wine, her man and the cat for company.

By the time we arrived, Maggie was ready to skin her beloved cat (and any of us if we got in the way). And one quick glass of wine later, we were marched off to the local jazz performance at Arundel festival.

On our return, it became quickly evident that Madge’s half made lunch was now going to be dinner. Luckily for me, it was a soft and flavoursome cumin cauliflower potato.

Unluckily for the others, it was just that. The remaining £145-worth of food shopping had been stashed away for a colossal barbeque the following day.

As I ate the cumin cauliflower potato with mango pickle for dinner, I was inspired to cook it at home. Only this time, as a side dish to something equally simple for a weekday meal.

So here is a simple jeera aloo or cumin potato – the cat’s whiskers for lovely Madge.


This recipe serves 4:

750 gm raw new potatoes, sliced into 1cm thick discs

2 tsp whole cumin

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

Half tsp chilli powder

Quarter tsp asafoetida (hing)

1 whole red chilli

2 tbsp sunflower oil

Salt to taste

Hot water

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a high flame. When it is hot, add the hing and almost immediately the whole cumin and red chilli.

As they sizzle up add the cumin, coriander and chilli powders. The aroma of the raw spices will fill the air and, as it does, chuck in the raw potatoes.

Stir the potatoes vigorously to mix it well into the masalas. Add salt now to taste, making a lovely rounded masala for the potatoes.

Now add a quarter cup of hot water, cover the pan and let the potatoes cook. Lift the lid off every two to three minutes and give them a good stir ensuring they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If the water dries up, add a bit more, repeating this process until you can insert a fork through the bone dry potatoes easily.

Enjoy this as a side dish with just about anything or crack open a box of toothpicks to serve it as a party snack.


    This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2007 at 2:11 pm and is filed under Entertaining, Highlights, On the side, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.