Aloo Achari/ Potatoes Sauteed in Pickle

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Have you ever watched that scene from Dhanni Meye, an old Black and White Bengali movie starring Jaya Bachchan, then Bhaduri. In the middle of the hot and humid afternoon, this young bride with all her zeal to steal pickles climbs up the asbestos roof and picks up her favorite mango pickle from the jar, set in the sun for sterilizing. On seeing this, her mother-in-law shouts at her, but the young girl continues eating the pickle unaware of anything going around her.

This might have been just a scene from some almost forgotten Bengali movie, but I’m sure almost everybody has tried stealing pickle from the jar. Raw mango, lemon, mixed vegetable and the count goes on for the number of pickles you can get in the market. My grandmom always liked preparing her pickle rather than buying from some grocery store. Now, when I am thousands of miles away from home my exposures to pickles are limited to “Mother’s” or the “Homemade” brands.

Pickles had always been a compliment to go along with dal and fries  or even with saag bhaja. Other than enhancing the taste, pickles are nutritionally beneficial as they contain high amounts of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a very good antioxidant and are also high in iron, potassium and manganese. It is also considered as a good source of dietary fibers.

Suchismita, our guest for today has sent us a tasty and tangy recipe of achari alu – alu sautéed in achar/ pickle. If you are a potato hater, then you can replace it with paneer/ cottage cheese.

Suchismita, was born and brought up in Kolkata. Now, she has shifted to USA. Her passion for food and photography has made her to take the toll and explore the various combinations of ingredients. If you are in US or UK and searching for that taste in achar, then try out the various pickles in Amazon , they are pretty good or even the nearby Indian store. Check for another guest post (oler kofta) from Suchismita.

Serves 4


  • 4 large potatoes cut to bite size pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon nigella/kalonji/ kalo jeera
  • 2-3 dry chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of pickle of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


  • Boil the potatoes till half done, peel off and keep aside
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and toss the potatoes till lightly brown. Keep aside
  • Throw in nigella, dry chilies, cumin
  • As the spices start sputtering add the chopped onion and sauté till the onions turn pinkish in color
  • Drop in the potatoes along with pickle
  • Pour in the vinegar as you can smell the aroma of the pickle and spices coming out
  • Add sugar and pour in little water to let the potatoes take in the spices
  • Cook covered till the potatoes get soft


Hot Tips – If you are replacing paneer with potatoes then cut the paneer in 1” cubes, slightly fry the pieces and drop them in salted warm water so that the paneer gets soft and the salt gets inside the paneer cubes. You can also try it with baby potatoes.


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Natun Alur Niramish Dum – Baby Potato Curry

This is a guest post by Soma Chowdhury. She is pursuing her MS from Louisiana State University. This post talks about a Bengali recipe, albeit with a twist from Soma. We thank her for the contributing here. Today being International Women’s Day, we dedicate today’s post to all our women readers.

Men, your turn will come too. 🙂

Women's Day

Women's Day

In the United States, almost everything is available throughout the year. Very few things are seasonal. I remember my Mom waiting for winter when she had a greater choice of vegetables to cook.

Back in India, winter is so colorful with lots of greens, oranges, reds and many more. The cauliflowers, cabbages, new baby potatoes, carrots, ripe-juicy oranges used to taste extra good during winter. During my childhood all these were only ones available during winter in my small town (though you can find them in the vegetable market anytime of the year now but they don’t taste as fresh as the winter time).

I cooked new baby potatoes as a winter vegetable for the monthly mingle as I love these potatoes. They taste so good, even you can eat them boiled with only salt and pepper sprinkled on them. There are many recipes on dum aloo in India; I think every household has their own recipe.

My Mom cooks several kinds too. In Bengali culture, anything cooked with onion or garlic becomes “non-veg”, so there are a lot of recipes without them and they are considered to be “complete veg” or “niramish”. It might sound a little strange, but that’s how it is.

This is my own recipe, modified from my mom’s recipes. My mother used to cook “niramish alur dom” (vegetarian potato curry) on Saturdays (as we ate veg on every Saturday) or during some religious festivals. Hope you will like the humble yet tasty recipe. The spices are approximate, you can modify them according to your taste.

What you need:

  1. 2 lbs baby potato, boiled and peeled
  2. One big, ripe tomato chopped
  3. One/two tablespoon of yogurt (depending on how sour you want it)
  4. Ginger/cumin/coriander (GCC) paste two tablespoon
  5. Red chili powder (add according to taste)
  6. Salt
  7. Green peas (half a cup)
  8. Few green chilies
  9. Oil
  10. One teaspoon turmeric
  11. One teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  12. A pinch of garam masala (optional)
  13. A handful of cilantro leaves
  14. One cup of water

Natun Alur Dom

Natun Alur Dom

How to cook Natun Alur Dom

  1. Apply salt and turmeric powder to the cooked potatoes. Heat oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until the outside is a little brownish. Don’t overcook them, they will start breaking. Remove them from the oil.
  2. In the remaining oil, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  3. Add the GCC paste, turmeric and chili powder, sauté for few minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes. Sauté until the tomatoes are completely mushy and the spice paste starts coming out of the pan.
  4. Add luke-warm water and salt and boil until the tomato loses its raw taste.
  5. Let the gravy thicken and then add the potatoes. Mix the potato with the gravy. Again, do not mix them vigorously, then might break.
  6. Add the green peas, garam masala and chopped cilantro.
  7. Cover for few minutes and serve hot with puri or chapattis. It tastes better the next day as the potatoes absorb the flavor from the gravy.

Further Reading: Potato recipes at Cook Like a Bong – Chal diye Alur Dom, Alu Posto, Alu Bhindi Bhaja

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