Jeera Aloo roughly translates to “potatoes with cumin,” and it is a simple, well-spiced potato dish that works well in a number of contexts.
It is not particularly hot in its traditional form, but the heat can be turned up by adding powdered cayenne pepper.
Anytime my mother received unannounced guests, which was very often since friends rarely call before coming over in India, she would quickly make this dish along with a flatbread called “paratha.”
The dish can also be used as a side dish with Western menus as well — think of it as an exotic, healthy alternative to french fries.
The recipe calls for a good amount of turmeric, a very important spice in Indian cuisine. Turmeric is recognized for a number of health benefits, and this dish is a great way to get one’s daily intake of the spice.
Jeera Aloo (Potatoes With Cumin)
A very easy potato dish with a punchy taste
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 whole cayenne peppers
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons coriander powder
4 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed into 1 inch (or smaller) cubes
Salt to taste
In a pan, heat the oil on medium. Add cayenne peppers, and when they begin to darken, add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, quickly add turmeric and coriander powders, stirring constantly.
Within seconds, add potatoes and sauté well. Add salt, and when the spices are evenly mixed with the potatoes, they are ready to be served hot as a side dish, or with toast or any Indian flatbread.
Jyoti Mukharji teaches Indian cooking classes in my Prairie Village home. In the past five years, more than 1,900 aspiring Indian chefs have come through her kitchen.