Pahadi Aloo Paani is a delicious potato curry without onion or garlic from Uttarakhand, India. Aloo Paani is a popular Kumaoni dish. It is a simple, gluten-free, vegan potato curry without onion, tomato, or garlic.
My extended family lived in the Kumaon Hills of Uttarakhand. I have spent my entire childhood in the foothill of the Himalayas.
It was all surreal, the crisp air, wilderness, and the sun that plays peek a boo in between the high mountains.
Even till date, I am enchanted by it all and the local dishes my grandmother and mother used to make. Simple, subtle, and the most soul comforting kind of food.
Curries such as Aloo Paani illustrates how the best of local and seasonal produce can be transformed into a hearty bowl of curry.
The hilly ranges of Kumaon are well known for a specific variety of potato – Pahadi Aloo. There is a hint of sweetness in these potatoes, perfect to make Aloo Ke Gutke and Aloo Paani.
Adding freshly crushed whole spices to the Aloo Paani is my great grandmother’s trick, who was an excellent cook. I wish I could have inherited the natural cooking instincts like her’s.
In her kitchen, Pahadi Aloo Paani was always cooked on a wood fire in a cast iron kadhai, eaten with fingers along with Kachori or steamed rice.
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Pahadi Aloo Paani (Aloo ki Sabzi)
- Heavy Bottom Kadhai
- 3 – 4 medium-size potato
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 – 2 green chili slited
- 4 tbsp mustard oil
Ingredients to grind
- half inch piece of cinnamon (dal chini)
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- 2 cloves laung
- Start with grinding the whole spices in mortar and pestle to a coarse powder. You can do the same in mixer as well but I stick to mortar and pestle for making spice powders in small quantity.
- Next peel the potatoes, wash and pat dry them with a kitchen towel. Cut each potato into equal halves.
- Place one potato piece in between the kitchen towel and smash it with a rolling pin. The idea is to break the potato into uneven chunks. Similarly, smash the remaining potato pieces. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat oil in a cast iron kadhai over high flame. Once the mustard oil starts fuming, reduce the flame to low.
- Add cumin, fenugreek and asafoetida. Stir for few seconds. Add coriander powder, green chili, stir and then add potato chunks.
- Fry the potato chunks for 3 – 5 minutes stirring occasionally in between.
- Next add turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt. Stir to mix. Fry the potato for 3 – 5 more minutes.
- Add 1 Cup of water, cover the skillet with a lid and let the curry simmer over low heat.
- After 10 minutes, open the lid and check potato for doneness. If potatoes are bit uncooked from the centre simmer the curry covered for few more minutes. If potato are cooked through, gently mash them with the back of the ladle.
- Add the spice powder prepared in step 1 along with 2 Cups of more water. Aloo Paani as the name suggest is a watery curry so don’t hesitate while adding water.
- Simmer the curry for 10 more minutes uncovered over low heat. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve Aloo Paani with Poori or steamed rice for lunch/dinner.
- For an authentic flavor it is highly recommended to use mustard oil for cooking aloo paani.
- If you don’t want to crush whole spices, add a teaspoon of garam masala powder.
- The curry has a thin and watery consistency. Hence, once potato are cooked, stop cooking the curry.