I remember attending a wedding in Rajasthan a few months ago and this khatta aloo dish was part of the Indian wedding thali feast. The humble potato gets a makeover and every bite of it reminded me of how amazing the flavours were. There are several ways to make jeera aloo and a Punjabi version is equally delicious which my mother used to cook for us. Jeera aloo is really simple and quick to cook and using very few ingredients.
The inclusion of hing/heeng or asafoetida as it’s known gives this dish its pungent flavour. This spice is a dried resin from the giant fennel plant and is known to aid digestion. Commonly used in lentils, pulses, vegetables and also in pickles. There are various varieties and sometimes even the colour can vary depending on strength.
For the ‘Khatta’ / sour taste I’ve added pomegranate powder. You could try it with tamarind paste or mango powder instead, although quantities will vary slightly depending how tangy you prefer it. One of my favourite ways to eat this dish is with some plain dal and parathas. Not much else is needed. Simple, humble and utterly delicious!
In a wok heat the oil on a medium heat add the asafoetida and fry for couple of seconds while it sizzles and infuses the oil. Add the cumin seed and fry for a further 10 seconds. Add the ginger slivers and the green chilli. Stir well and fry for 8-10 seconds followed by the boiled potatoes
Add the powdered spices and stir for 3-4 minutes. The colour will deepen slightly and the spices will begin to coat all the potato chunks. If you feel its sticking to the bottom of the pan turn the heat lower or add a splash of water (although this is a dry dish and you wouldn’t want to add any moisture to it).
Add the sugar, salt and chopped coriander. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let it rest for a few minutes as the potatoes soak in all the spices. Serve with dal and roti/ parathas.