Aloo (Potatoes) for Chaat
This is the 4th installment in my 5 part series on the fundamentals of Indian Street/Snack Foods. The first was Dhaniya (Coriander) Chutney, the second was Imli (Tamarind) Chutney, and the third was Dry Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas). Be sure to check those out if you are planning on making any kind of chaat at home =).
This recipe for Aloo (pronounced Ah-loo, which means Potatoes) is a super simple one, but its worth devoting a post to since it is such a fundamental part in almost every vegetarian Indian Street food. You will find these potatoes being used in anything from Pani Puri (pictured above) to bhel puri to many other things. Potatoes are really, really important for Indian vegetarians. You will frequently see potatoes being used to provide a lot of weight to vegetarian foods. So this will definitely not be the last time you see me post an Indian recipe with potatoes.
For this particular application, often you will see people only use straight boiled potatoes that have been either chopped or mashed, but I find that to be pretty bland. I like to take my potatoes one step further my lightly sautéing and seasoning. I feel like it really helps the texture and the flavor of the potatoes. My husband grew up in India where street food was easily accessible, not including the fact that in his family there are some very talented cooks, so his exposure to the most authentic versions of foods like this is much higher than mine. With these potatoes I received his seal of approval! At least once every couple of weeks he asks if I can make either bhel or pani puri for him, and these potatoes always play a large role in both of those dishes.
If you are planning to make any kind of chaat/street food I hope you will give my version a try! Let me walk you through how simple it is to prepare the potatoes this way! =)
You can consider this more of a walk-through of a technique. I just used 3 potatoes so I could show you properly how to make this, but you will need to adjust all the measurements based on how much quantity you need.
So first we start with our potatoes. I happened to use potatoes that had been sitting in my cabinet for a little while and since they are organic, they do tend to sprout after a couple of weeks. This does not mean they are bad. I just rub off the sprouts. Continue to use the potatoes as I would. I debated retaking all these pictures with “fresh” potatoes, but then where is the honesty in that? I am a home-cook, and I try not to waste. If you have potatoes that have begun to sprout don’t throw them out, they are still good and useable.
Peel the potatoes and leave them whole. Put them into a pot of cold water making sure to cover them with 1in of water and season the water with salt the way you would pasta. Bring the water to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium. Cook the potatoes until you can just barely stick a fork through them. You do not want them to be too soft that they will mash and fall apart, they should be able to hold their shape still, at the same time, they should still be cooked through. If you are using russet potatoes they will cook faster than if you are using Yukon gold like I did.
You can see the spots on the potatoes are leftover from where they had sprouted. It’s not as obvious now.
As you can see, all the places where the sprouts had begun have become quite visible on the potatoes, but like I said before, that’s okay. It’s not a “bad” spot, the potatoes are still good and useable.
Once the potatoes are done cooking, remove them from the water and let them cool enough so that you can handle them.
I have very little patience when it comes to waiting for things to cool down, so I just used my knife without touching the potatoes to cut them in half so that they would cool faster.
Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, cut them up into small cubes/pieces. You want them to be around 1/2-1/4 in cubes. While you are doing that, heat up some oil on medium heat in a sauté pan on the stove.
Once all your potatoes are cut up into small cubes, and the oil on the stove has become shimmery (a sign that it is hot), add your potatoes to the oil. Mix them around occasionally.
After some time, you will notice the potatoes will just start to brown in some areas, this is when we stop. Take the potatoes off of the heat. Our goal is not to brown the potatoes throughout, we just want to add a little bit more bite to them.
Add the chaat masala and mix it in. Taste the Aloo (potatoes) and see if it needs more.
Lastly, season with some indian chili powder. Mix it in, let it cool completely and you are good to go! Serve the aloo (potatoes) cool or at room temperature.
It works really well as a filling for Pani Puri with the Dry Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas).
I hope you give this recipe a try for yourself! Please be sure to let me know in the comments if you do! I would love to hear what you thought of it! Be sure to subscribe so that you can be notified when I post new recipes! (link in the sidebar). Follow me on Instagram @saltyoversweet and find me on Facebook (the link is in the sidebar).The last installment in my 5 part series of “The Fundamentals of Indian Street/Snack Foods” will be for the seasoned Pani (water) used to fill pani puri!
- 3 medium size - potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet)
- Salt - for seasoning boiling water
- 1 Tbsp - Cooking Oil (like cooking olive oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, canola oil)
- 1 tsp - Chaat Masala
- 1/2 tsp - Indian Chili Powder
- Peel the potatoes and place them into a pot of cold water making sure to cover them by 1 inch of water. Season the water with salt the way you would for pasta.
- Put the pot into the stove on high heat, bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook for 10-15 min on medium. Russet potatoes cook faster than Yukon Gold you will need to adjust accordingly, and check them often.
- You want the potatoes to cook until a fork can just barely pierce through the potato, there should still be a little bit resistance in the center.
- once the potatoes are done, remove them from the water and place them onto your cutting board to cool, I like to cut them in half at this point to quicken the cooling process.
- Allow the potatoes to cool until you can handle them. Once they are cool enough to handle cut the potatoes into small cubes 1/4-1/2 inch in size.
- Heat the oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Once the oil become shimmery (sign that it is hot) add the diced potatoes.
- Mix them around and cook on medium heat until it is just starting to brown in some places.
- Remove the potatoes from the heat and season with chaat masala and indian chili powder. Be sure to taste them, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
- Let potatoes cool, and serve at room temperature or cold.
- Enjoy! =)
- *Depending on whether you choose to use Yukon Gold or Russet the texture of the potatoes will be different along with the cook time. Yukon gold hold its shape better but takes longer to cook. Russet falls apart a lot faster and has a grainier texture, pick the potato whose texture you prefer.
- *These potatoes store well in the fridge for up to a week. You don't need to heat them up, you can use them straight out of the fridge. In chaat, they are meant to be eaten cold.
Salty Over Sweet Food Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.