Jeera Aloo is a roasted potato recipe from Bangladesh. The identifying aspect of this dish is the spice blend that highlights the beautiful flavors of Bangladesh. Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, cayenne, turmeric, and ginger.
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‘UUuuuuge potato gal right here. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever met a potato I didn’t like. Mashed, roasted, baked, fried, it doesn’t matter. Each and every kind of potato is my very favorite kind of potato….. If you don’t think about that sentence too hard, it makes a lot of sense.
These Jeera Aloo potatoes are no exception, though they were slightly out of my comfort zone. As we’ve well established on this blog, this girl was not made for spicy. These potatoes were spicy, and yet…. I loved them.
The Secret Magic of Jeera Aloo
The magic of these potatoes is simple… it’s all in the spice.
The spices are sauteed in the pan prior to the potatoes being added. The raw potatoes are then added and slowly saute in the spices until they cook all the way through. The most fun aspect of this recipe by far is the mustard seeds.
How to Toast Your Mustard Seeds
Indian cooking is classifiable by roasting the mustard seeds. Toasting the mustard seeds really brings out the flavor of the spice, but it can be tricky to do correctly. As the mustard seeds heat up, they begin to pop, jumping across the pan, dancing as they get hotter and hotter. Don’t enjoy the fun for too long, though. There is a very short time limit between when the mustard seeds start to pop and when they burn. In order to navigate this fragile line, I have a perfect method to toast my mustard seeds.
First, I heat my oil up almost to its smoking point. Typically the mustard seeds are then added to the pan, where they roast over the fire until they pop. The trouble here, though, is that it is very easy for the seeds to burn. Instead, I heat my oil up, and then remove it from the heat. I quickly add in the seeds, and the residual heat from the oil will pop the seeds regardless of if they’re on the fire or not. This reduces the risk of burning the seeds while still releasing the flavor of the popped mustard seeds.
Cumin and Mustard Seeds
The cumin acts similarly, though it takes a bit longer for cumin to pop than it takes mustard seeds. For this recipe, I heat the oil over the fire, and as it gets to its smoking point, add the cumin. As the cumin pops, remove the pan from the fire and then add the mustard seeds, which will roast almost immediately. In this way, you can ensure that both seeds release flavor without the risk of burning.
Cooking the Potatoes
When I first began researching recipes for this Jeera Aloo, I was concerned that the potatoes were not cooked in any way before adding them into the pan. As it turns out, this was not a problem. The potatoes cooked all the way through, and tasted delicious. Other methods of cooking these potatoes may not be as traditional, but will provide the same flavor profile with a less time-intensive cooking method.
After toasting the mustard and cumin seeds, you can mix them into the rest of the spices. You can then toss the raw potatoes in oil, coat them in the spice mix, and roast them in the oven at about 425 degrees for about 35-30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can boil the potatoes slightly before adding them to the pan. This will soften them up slightly, and allow the center of the potatoes to be more tender. This method is especially helpful if you want the potato cubes to be on the larger side.
Whichever way you choose to cook these potatoes, I know that you’re going to love them. If you make this recipe, make sure to share a photo with me! Tag @TheForeignFork on Facebook or hashtag #TheForeignFork. If you loved this Jeera Aloo side dish, be sure to check out these Plantain Chips from The Bahamas or these Sweet Potato and Coconut Dumplings from Antigua and Barbuda.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- 5 small potatoes, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- Heat the oil in the frying pan until it almost reaches its smoking point.
- Add the cumin. When the cumin seeds begin to pop, remove the pan from the fire and add the mustard seeds until they begin to pop as well.
- Add the potatoes and the remaining seasonings.
- Cook over the low heat until the potatoes are done. Enjoy!