Bombay potatoes are quick, spicy Indian roast potatoes. They are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and come together in 30 minutes. This easy Bombay potatoes recipe is a family recipe, and is a staple vegan, gluten-free Indian side dish for the entire family!
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💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Perfect, crispy potatoes: Foolproof recipe to get super crispy potatoes that are soft and fluffy on the inside (just like my crispy garlic air fryer smashed potatoes).
- Quick and easy to make: This dish uses 7 simple ingredients and comes together in 30 minutes, so it's the perfect side dish for a quick meal!
- Make-ahead friendly: The dish stays fresh in the fridge for up to a week.
🥔 What are Bombay Potatoes?
Bombay potatoes (or Bombay Aloo) get their name from the British. The British Raj introduced potatoes to India to replace indigenous vegetables with "superior" plants. At home, we just call them 'aloo subzi' (aloo means potato and subzi refers to a sauté of vegetables).
This spicy Indian potato dish uses parboiled potatoes, which are tossed in warm Indian spices (e.g., turmeric, red chili powder, mustard and cumin) and pan fried for a crispy texture. They're crispy outside, soft and fluffy inside and served as a dry curry with a flatbread like naan or roti or with rice.
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need potatoes, turmeric, red chili powder, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, vegetable oil, a dash of chickpea flour for this recipe and some fresh cilantro garnish. You can also use ground cumin or coriander in the spice mix.
Notes & Variations
- Substitute for black mustard seeds. This is a core ingredient in most Indian spice boxes, but you can substitute this with half a teaspoon of whole grain mustard. However, the latter is more concentrated so make sure to start with a little dash, then taste and adjust as needed.
- Don't hesitate to play with the spices. I use basic spices (turmeric, red chili powder and cumin) in this recipe, but you can totally mix it up. If you don't have cumin seeds, you can use a dash of cumin powder. You can add curry powder, garam masala, fresh ginger, garlic or other warm Indian spices.
- Other variations: You can easily customize this recipe to your taste. For instance, add a handful of cherry tomatoes for sweetness, chopped spinach in the last few minutes, drained canned chickpeas for protein, or even some cauliflower to bulk it up!
What type of potatoes are best for Bombay Potatoes?
The type of potatoes you use in Bombay Potatoes can make a big difference in the texture and flavor of the dish. Waxy potatoes are the best because they hold their shape well after cooking. They also have a higher moisture content than starchy potatoes, so they're fluffier on the inside.
For this reason, I love using Yukon Gold potatoes (Maris Piper potatoes 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. But there are a few other types you can use:
- Red potatoes: Red potatoes are a great option since they have a slightly sweet flavor and a firm texture.
- Fingerling or baby potatoes: Baby potatoes are basically young potatoes, and fingerling potatoes are small, elongated potatoes that are dense and waxy. I recommend leaving the skins on if you use fingering or baby potatoes because it can be a pain to peel all of them.
- Other potatoes: If you can't find any of the potatoes listed above, you can also use other types of waxy potatoes, such as Charlotte or La Ratte potatoes.
Tips for choosing the best potatoes:
- Choose potatoes that are similar in size so that they cook evenly.
- Avoid potatoes that are bruised or have blemishes.
- If you are using newer potatoes, you do not need to peel them. Simply scrub them well under running water. If you are using older potatoes, I suggest you peel them before cooking.
👩🏽🍳 Make Bombay potatoes from scratch!
Parboil / pre-cook the potatoes
Add quartered potatoes to a pot of water along with a pinch of turmeric and salt. Bring to a rolling boil, and parboil the potatoes until fork tender.
This typically takes around 10 to 12 minutes from when the water is at a rolling boil, depending on age, type, and size. Peel potatoes, set aside after draining.
Pro Tip: Don't boil them all the way like you might for mashed potatoes! The goal is to get the insides cooked enough that once you fry them, they won't overcook and disintegrate.
Get the spice mixture ready
I typically mix turmeric, red chili powder, and chickpea flour to create a spice mix. Toss the cooked potatoes in this spice mix. Add some water to help bind the spices to the boiled potatoes (1 teaspoon water to 1 tablespoon chickpea flour ratio).
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 black mustard seeds. 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. Then, toss them into the skillet for pan frying. Add cumin powder at this stage if you're using them instead of seeds.
Give them a good stir to get the spices nicely dispersed. Then, cook untouched for about 3 to 4 minutes to create delicious spicy potatoes.
The chickpea flour helps crisp up the potatoes and helps the spices adhere to the potatoes better (this is a trick that my mom has used for ages!)
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 and some raita for a delicious side!
👩🏽🍳 Top Tips for Crispy Bombay Potatoes!
- 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 while quartered Yukon Gold potatoes will take about 14 minutes (from when the water starts boiling).
- Don't overcook the potatoes. The key here is to get them just fork-tender so they're cooked on the inside. Overcooking will cause them to disintegrate when you pan fry them. They'll taste delicious, but might become a mash.
- Dredge parboiled potatoes with chickpea flour and spices before pan frying 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.
- Crispiness depends on several factors, including but not limited to the type of potato (use Yukon Gold or baby potatoes), the size of the potato chunks (quarter them into even chunks), and the size and heat conduction of the skillet. I use a non-stick skillet (this ridiculously non-stick Caraway fry pan) or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet to make this recipe. It's never let me down!
- Adjust spiciness to your preferred level. I use Kashmiri red chili powder in this recipe, so a little goes a long way. You can substitute this with paprika, cayenne or reduce the quantity to meet your spice tolerance.
How to make Bombay potatoes spicier?
I use Kashmiri chili powder, which is what we most commonly use in Indian cooking. If you want to amplify the spiciness, you can add fresh green chili peppers too. But you're welcome to substitute this with a less potent chili powder (e.g., paprika or cayenne) or leave out if you want it to be milder.
👩🏽🍳 Troubleshooting FAQs
Yes! Instead of parboiling the potatoes, you can peel, quarter, and pre-cook the potatoes in an air fryer at 380°F for 15 minutes. Then, toss potatoes in the spice mix and return to air fryer for 20 minutes. Shake basket or turn the potatoes halfway through and make sure to cook until golden brown!
You can store these spiced Indian potatoes in the fridge for a day or two. To reheat, you could use the microwave. However, they retain crispiness if you add them back to a skillet with a tablespoon of water instead.
Waxy and floury potatoes work best for Indian cooking. All purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold or Maris Piper work quite well.
Parboil the potatoes, dredge in the spice mix following the recipe. Spread them out evenly on a baking sheet and bake them at 380°F for 30 to 45 minutes. Cook time will depend on your oven, and the type and size of your potatoes. Check every 5 minutes after 30 minutes, until done.
🍴 What to serve with roast Bombay potatoes
I love eating these spicy Indian potatoes by themselves, but here are three more great ways to eat Bombay potatoes:
- Serve as a side dish. Instead of a classic potato salad, serve 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. So it makes for a great vegan taco filling. Add some pickled red onions, maybe some cilantro-mayo and you're all set. Or make amazing vegan tacos by adding these potatoes to my gochujang cauliflower tacos.
- Eat with naan or rice. 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. Or, try this jeera rice for another perfect pairing!
P.S., If you want to try a different flavor profile of similarly roasted potatoes, check out these roasted old bay potatoes. Delicious!
Storing & Reheating
You can store any leftover potatoes in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 2 days. While you can 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!
You can freeze these potatoes, but I don't recommend it (they tend to get mushy and reheating doesn't replicate the crispy texture nearly as well). If you do freeze, let them cool completely and then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. You can technically freeze them up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw them overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for a few hours. Once thawed, you can reheat them in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave. Stir them every few minutes to prevent them from sticking!
More great potato dishes:
Leftover potatoes? No worries! Make some of these amazing potato dishes.
- Aloo Gobi Masala (sheet pan roasted Indian potatoes and cauliflower)
- Healthy Indian Samosas (baked)
- Air Fryer Samosas
- Instant Pot, No Drain Mashed Potatoes
- Classic American Potato Salad
- Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes
Did you make this recipe?! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Bombay Potatoes (Spicy Indian Roast Potatoes)
- 2 teaspoon turmeric powder, divided
- 1½ teaspoons red chili powder, Kashmiri chili powder, adjust to taste!
- 4 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons water, to form slurry with chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, substitute ½ teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds, substitute with cumin powder
- 6 potatoes, medium sized, Yukon Gold
Parboil the potatoes
- Bring a pot of water to boil along with turmeric powder. Quarter potatoes (no need to peel) and drop them in water. Boil for 10-15 minutes, after you start to see bubbles appear in the water (rolling boil). Note: At 10 minute mark, check if potatoes are fork-tender. Otherwise, let them cook a bit more, checking every minute. You don't want to over boil them.
Prepare 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 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.