Aloo (ka) Bharta (spicy mashed potato) is a timeless comfort food which can be enjoyed equally with rice or rotis. As a Bengali, my staple meal growing up consisted of boiled rice and my mum often prepared this bharta in traditional Bengali style, either using mustard oil as a base or ghee; the latter treating one’s sensory palette to the ultimate taste experience which I dare not replicate for obvious health reasons!
Aloo Bharta, a dish of Bihari origin, has many variations. My recipe is based on a Pakistani version which I have adapted from my mother-in-law and is very different to the Bengali method of preparation and personally, best enjoyed with handmade rotis 😀
Feel free to replace the tomato purée with fresh tomatoes. I only used the purée as I was out of tomatoes 😱
750 g potatoes, boiled and mashed with a tsp salt
3-4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
11/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp tomato purée
4 spring onions, chopped
Green and red chillies, chopped
How to cook
1. Heat the oil gently and add the cumin seeds. Allow seeds to sizzle.
2. Add the onions and chillies. Cover and cook until softened.
3. Stir in the spices and cook for 1 minute over a medium flame.
4. Add the tomato purée and mix well. Cook until the oil separates from spices. Stir in the salt.
5. Turn down the heat and add the mashed potato. Mix well until the spices is evenly distributed throughout the potato.
6. Stir in the chopped coriander and transfer to a serving dish.
Bombay Potatoes, likely to have originated in Southern Indian, is a dish which has been adapted more for the British palette.
However, I have found the off-the-shelf, watered down version of ‘Bombay Potatoes’ far from palatable. What I have created here is a more intensely flavoursome dish which uses the Eastern Bengali blend of five spices (‘paanch phoran’) to bring a out wonderfully aromatic flavour.