Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Roasted Cumin Potatoes (or Lazy Woman's Jeera Aloo)

I think I've mentioned before that I love Indian food. I cook an approximation of it at home, but it's never quite authentic. This recipe uses authentic spices, however, the cooking method is far from authentic. The results, however, are a delicious, relatively hands-off weeknight meal when paired with some curried scrambled eggs or maybe some chana saag. 

I "discovered" jeera aloo when D took me out for Indian food for my birthday back in October. I was determined to make it at home. Potatoes and spices. I could probably handle that. The thing is, Indian cooking often requires a lot of steps...boil the potatoes then pan fry them in oil...recipes call for pressure cookers...and I'm, well, lazy.

I've gone to over my friends Tim and Seema's apartment for dinner. Seema will have promised some sort of elaborate pasta dish, and when I get there she says, "I didn't end up trying out that pasta recipe. I just made Indian food. I hope that's OK." 

One: Of course it's OK. What kind of person turns down homemade Indian food? 

Two: Seriously? Just Indian food? I would love to be the kind of person who says "I just made Indian food" (I suppose being Indian does help), but I doubt I ever will be. 

So, being the type of person who will never use the phrase "I just made Indian food" as if I had put no thought or effort into the meal, I added the spices to my typical roasted potato recipe. It wasn't exactly like the restaurant, but it tasted pretty close. I'm happy with my approximation. 

Roasted Cumin Potatoes
Adapted from Padma's Kitchen

1/2 lb small red-skinned potatoes (I used Russian fingerlings), cut into 1" chunks
1-2 T oil or ghee
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 T coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
1 T cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 T ground cumin
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss the potatoes with the oil and the spices. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning once during cooking, or until the potatoes are tender on the inside and a bit crisp on the outside.

Serve with a scrambled egg curry, chana saag or other protein-filled dish of choice and it's dinner.

Serves 2-3 as a side.


  1. happy new year sam! i'm so glad we've gotten to "know" each other a little bit - you really are a joy to hear from!

    I agree with you - indian food = good. especially if it's home made. And who DOESN'T want to eat Indian spiced potatoes? Crazy peeps, that's who!

  2. My parents might disown me for saying this, but I will ALWAYS take Indian food over pasta. Any day.

    this sounds delicious even if it's not 100% authentic...and that's really all that matters to me!

  3. I'm with you and LOOOVE Indian food! I took a Vegetarian Indian cooking class and learned SO much! These potates look delicious!


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