Bombay potatoes are a simple Indian potato dry curry made with potatoes, turmeric, cumin, and red chili powder (a version of jeera aloo). These cumin potatoes are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the perfect side for almost any main you can think of. They also come together in thirty minutes, and stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week, so they’re a great go-to side dish.
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you’re successful in your first attempt. But if you’re in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
🥔What are Bombay potatoes? Jeera Aloo?
Bombay potatoes get their name from the UK, if I were being honest. At home, we just call them ‘aloo subzi’ where subzi typically refers to a saute of vegetables. “Jeera aloo” means cumin-spiced potatoes. My recipe draws inspiration from both of these for a killer dish.
It uses parboiled potatoes, which are then pan fried for a crispy texture, while still soft and fluffy inside. It’s served as a dry curry with a flatbread like naan or roti or you can also eat it with rice, throw it in a taco, or just have it as a side by itself.
📋 Ingredients and tips
You’ll need potatoes, turmeric, red chili powder, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, vegetable oil, and a dash of chickpea flour for this recipe (and an optional cilantro garnish).
Use Yukon Gold potatoes if possible (these are called Maris Piper or “baking potatoes” in the UK). These are golden yellow potatoes that are not too waxy, but also hold their shape quite well when cooked.
I typically dredge parboiled potatoes with chickpea flour and spices before I pan fry them. Very lightly! The chickpea flour helps make the potatoes ULTRA crispy when you fry them, and they take on the flavors of the spices rather well.
You only need basic spices – turmeric, red chili powder and cumin. Cumin is one of the key ingredients for making jeera aloo but if you don’t have cumin seeds, you can also use a dash of cumin powder (detailed notes in the recipe card). You may also choose to add garam masala, or other warm Indian spices as you wish!
👩🏽🍳 Bombay potatoes from scratch
Start by parboiling the potatoes
Bring a pot of water to boil. Once it’s at a rolling boil, add quartered potatoes to the pot along with a pinch of turmeric and salt. Don’t worry about peeling them – the peels will slide right off when you’re done.
The boiling time for potatoes will depend on the type of potato as well as the size of the potato. Baby potatoes take about 10 minutes to parboil while a medium sized Yukon Gold potato that’s been quartered will take about 14 minutes or so. These are times from when you drop the potatoes in (which you do when the water is at a rolling boil).
The key here is not to get it completely boiled (like you might for mashed potatoes). But rather, to get the insides cooked enough that once you start frying them, they won’t overcook and disintegrate. Start poking the potato with a fork at the 10 minute mark, and every minute thereafter. When the fork slides right through, your potatoes are ready to be drained. Peel and set aside after draining.
Get the spice dredge ready
I typically mix turmeric, red chili powder, and chickpea flour to create a spice mix. I coat my parboiled potatoes in this spice mix, and then add some water to help bind the spices to the potatoes (typically use a 1 teaspoon water per 1 tablespoon chickpea flour ratio).
Then, I toss them into the skillet for pan frying. The chickpea flour helps crisp up the potatoes beyond my wildest imagination. It also helps the spices adhere to the potatoes better (this is a trick that my mom has used for ages!)
Pan fry the potatoes with spices
Heat some vegetable oil (don’t use olive oil here, it’ll burn) in a skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is hot (it’ll appear to glisten) add mustard seeds, and once they start to sputter, add cumin seeds. If you are using cumin powder, hold off on this step.
Once the cumin seeds are toasted, shake the potatoes to get excess slurry off of them, and toss them into the pan (add cumin powder if you’re using powder instead of seeds). Give it a good stir to get the spices nicely mixed up and cook untouched for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Give it one more stir, and let it cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. When the potatoes start turning golden brown on the outside, you’re good to turn off the heat. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro for a delicious side!
🍴 Serving & storage suggestions
You can store any leftover potatoes in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 2 days. While you can totally reheat in a microwave before serving, I suggest popping the potatoes back into the pan instead. Give it a quick whirl and then serve. This way, you’ll have still crispy potatoes!
While I love eating these Indian potatoes by themselves, here are three great ways to eat Bombay potatoes:
- Serve as a side dish. Replace your potato salad with these warmly spiced potatoes, and you have a hit on your hands. Goes great with most mains (whether that’s a robust meat dish or a grilled vegetable)
- Use as taco filling. This potato curry is crispy, soft, and super filling (no puns intended!) So it makes for a great vegan taco filling. Add some red onions, maybe some cilantro-mayo and you’re all set. Or if you want to take it up a notch, make amazing vegan tacos by adding these potatoes to my gochujang cauliflower tacos
- Eat with naan or flatbread. This is really the traditional way to eat these potatoes. While most curries are “wet” these crispy potatoes hold their own with most flatbreads! Check out my foolproof homemade naan recipe for the fluffiest, pillowy naan bread you can make at home.
Looking for other Indian dishes? Check these recipes out:
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag #urbanfarmie on Instagram, @urbanfarmie on Pinterest!
Bombay Potatoes (Jeera Aloo)
Jeera Aloo Spice Mix
- 2 tsp turmeric powder divided
- 1.5 tsp red chili powder I use Kashmiri chili powder, which is potent; adjust to taste!
- 4 tbsp chickpea flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tsp water to form slurry with chickpea flour
Jeera Aloo Subzi (Dry Curry)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil you can add extra if you like
- 1 tsp mustard seeds skip if unavailable
- 1.5 tsp cumin seeds can substitute with cumin powder – check recipe notes
- 6 potatoes medium, Yukon Gold
Parboil the potatoes
- Bring a pot of water to boil along with 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Quarter the potatoes (no need to peel) and drop them into the water once you start to see bubbles appear in the water. Boil for about 10-15 minutesNote: At the 10 minute mark, take a fork and poke your potatoes. If the fork goes through cleanly, you're good to go. If they don't, let them cook a bit more, checking every minute using the same technique. You don't want to over boil them.
Prep Spice Mix
- In a medium sized bowl (that can hold all the potatoes) add the chickpea flour, remaining turmeric, salt, and red chili powder and give it a good whisk.
Make Jeera Aloo (aka Bombay Potatoes)
- Once the potatoes are done boiling, remove from heat using a colander or slotted spoon. Rinse the potatoes under cold water to stop them from further cooking and peel the potatoes (the peels should come right off)
- Drop the peeled potatoes into the bowl with the spice mix and give it a good toss to coat them evenly. Now, add about 4 teaspoons of water to make sure the spices stick to the potatoes. Don't add too much water!
- In a skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium heat.
- Once the oil starts to glisten, add mustard seeds. Then, once the mustard seeds starts sputtering, add cumin seeds. Toast for about 20 seconds taking care not to burn the seeds. Note: You can skip the mustard seeds if you don't have them, and add the cumin seeds straight to the oil. If you plan to use cumin powder, skip this step entirely and add the cumin powder after you add the potatoes.
- Toss the potatoes into the skillet, taking care not to overcrowd them. Give them a good stir and let them cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then give them one more good stir and let them cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Your potatoes should be golden brown by this time. If not, give it a few more minutes until they are.
- Once they are golden brown, turn the heat off, garnish with some curry leaves (note: these are not bay leaves!) or cilantro if you wish, and serve hot with naan, rice or any other main dish of choice.
- Using the chickpea flour makes the potatoes ultra crispy. If you don’t have that on hand, you can just toss the potatoes in the spices and drop them in the oil. You might need to watch the potatoes as they cook to make sure they’re crispy the way you want it (and it might take a bit more time!)
- Adjust the spice to your taste levels. In my household, we use Kashmiri red chili powder when I need heat – this is quite potent. If you want milder flavors but still a kick, you can use paprika instead.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.