Potato Varuval | Aloo Stir-Fry

Potato Varuval | Aloo Stir-Fry ~ Quick and easy side of potatoes cooked the South-Indian way


This recipe is the incentive that my family needs on most days for an otherwise ‘ordinary‘ meal (yeah sometimes that really all it takes :P). Who has ever had a problem with potatoes, right? The universally loved vegetable that turns into crisped little beauties with such little effort.. my go-to recipe and appetite booster. Just chop them up, with the skin on for most varieties unless it’s the kind with rather thick/stubby skin that you certainly want to peel off, toss around in oil tempered with the usual suspects (for a South Indian, that is) and you’ve got yourself on your way to making one of the most loved and yet deliciously simple sides of our time. If it survives the pan, serve it up on a platter with rice and curry or just plain old yogurt.. that’s what I end up having it with even when there are other options available. If you’ve yet to try making your potatoes this way, think no further and get chopping right away.

Potato Varuval | Aloo Stir-Fry

Serves: 4 (depends!) | Prep Time: 5-10 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  1. 4-5 large potatoes, cleaned and chopped into small pieces (approx. 2-3 cups yield)
  2. 2 Tbsp oil
  3. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  4. 2 tsp urad seeds
  5. 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  6. 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
  7. 1 tsp ground ginger and garlic paste (substitute with fresh chopped or minced ginger and garlic)
  8. 3/4 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  9. few curry leaves
  10. salt to taste



  1. Heat oil in a pan (non-stick works best if you want to cut down on the fat and still get nicely crisped potatoes in the end).
  2. On medium-heat (to prevent burning the ingredients too fast), add the mustard seeds, urad seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and allow to crackle.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add the ground turmeric, chili powder, salt and ginger-garlic paste.
  4. Mix the ingredients together until well combined in the oil and the ginger and garlic are sauteed for a few seconds in the heat. Note: Take care not to burn the ingredients at this stage.
  5. Add the chopped potatoes and toss around until they are well coated in the oil and spices mixture.
  6. Sprinkle some water (a few spoons just to allow some steam to form when cooking) and cook with lid on for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat, until potatoes are soft enough to break with ladle. Now they are almost cooked and only need a bit more to get done and then turn crisp.
  7. Remove the lid, toss around to distribute spices again and check the taste for salt/spice levels – add more if needed at this time.
  8. Continue to cook on med to med-high heat, for another 10 minutes, tossing frequently, until the potatoes are fully done and begin to brown and turn crispy on the outside. The time to cook depends on the pan – a wider pan facilitates faster cooking due to more surface area allowing a lot of contact for the potatoes.
  9. Turn off the heat when potatoes have reached desired consistency.

Enjoy with rice and any curry or just simply some plain yogurt on the side!

One Response to “Potato Varuval | Aloo Stir-Fry”
  1. Mangai Bhavan says:

    Better late than never.All time favorite.

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