Top | Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking

Aloo Achaar

(recipe, Madhur Jaffrey)

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Eaten frequently as a snack, this potato salad comes from the kingdom of Nepal on India's northern frontier. Its dressing is made of ground sesame seeds, sesame oil, lemon juice, and hot green chiles. The chiles provide the "hotness" and lots of vitamin C. If you do not like hot foods, regular green pepper can be substituted for the hot chile. Asafetida is also used in this recipe, chiefly because of its digestive powers. Even though aloo achaar can be eaten an hour or two after it's made, it tastes best when the dressing has been allowed to be absorbed for 12 hours; it keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


  1. 4 medium-sized waxy boiling potatoes
  2. 4 Tbsp. ground roasted sesame seeds
  3. 3 Tbsp. or more lemon juice
  4. 1 tsp. salt
  5. 1 to 4 hot green chiles, very finely minced, or 2 tablespoons minced green pepper
  6. 4 Tbsp. sesame oil
  7. 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  8. A pinch of ground asafetida
  9. 8 to 10 whole fenugreek seeds
  10. 3 Tbsp. minced cilantro/Chinese (or other) parsley


  1. Put the potatoes to boil.
  2. Combine the ground sesame seeds, lemon juice, salt, and green chiles in a stainless-steel or non-metallic bowl. Add the 4 tablespoons of sesame oil, a few drops at a time, and beat in with a thin wire whisk or fork.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a metal ladle (hold the ladle over the heat) or a small butter warmer. When very hot, put in the asafetida and fenugreek seeds. As soon as the fenugreek seeds begin to darken (this takes a few seconds), pour the oil and spices into the dressing. Mix well. Add the minced Chinese parsley and mix again. Check seasonings.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and peel them while they are still hot. If necessary, hold them with a fork to do so. Dice the hot potatoes into ¾-inch cubes. Put the diced potatoes into the bowl with the dressing and mix gently. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
  5. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate if not eating within the next couple of hours. This salad may be eaten cold or at room temperature.