Aloo Sabzi: Potatoes Cooked in Mustard Oil

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Dry Potato “Curry”: Aloo Sabzi

Sometimes the most ordinary of foods can be made extraordinary simply by pairing them with the right ingredients.  For this delicious potato dish, I took a lot of inspiration from my mother-in-law’s cooking and the tasty foods I ate while in West Bengal.

I paired the potatoes with dried red chilies and copious amounts of mustard oil.  Mustard oil is the *star* of this dish, and the pungent flavor really compliments the potatoes perfectly!

If you’re unfamiliar with mustard oil, it’s okay.  It’s not an oil we often use here in the States and it isn’t usually found on the shelves of your neighborhood supermarket, although I have seen it at Walmart in their “ethnic” section.  To locate a bottle you may have to stop by an Indian market or order online.  Just be sure you’re ordering PURE mustard oil.  It should cost around $3 to $4 dollars for 16.9 oz.

Now that I’ve told you where to buy the oil, I should probably warn you that it can definitely be an acquired taste.  In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I really began to enjoy the flavor. Now, believe it or not, I occasionally find myself craving the taste and the smell of mustard oil.

One whiff and I’m instantly transported back to Kolkata… Oh, how I miss India!

Bengali Style Potatoes cooked in Mustard Oil

Bengali Style Potatoes cooked in Mustard Oil

This Potato dish is so simple to make.  In fact, I’m not even sure if I can call it a recipe.  It takes little to no time to make and tastes amazing paired with a simple omelet or even stuffed in a warmed up tortilla–or as Baba would say, Mexican Chapatis.

To make this dish, I diced up three good-size potatoes.  I used russet potatoes and peeled them before dicing.  Usually I prefer red potatoes and I would leave the skin on.  Use what you have laying around the house and feel free to experiment!   No potatoes?  That’s okay.  Use cauliflower!

Diced Potatoes

Once your potatoes are chopped, tip a tablespoon or two of mustard oil into the pan and toss in a couple dried red chilies and some kalonji (otherwise known as nigella seeds or black onion seeds).  Once the oil gets hot–when it just begins to smoke and the kalonji begin to pop–add the potatoes and a little turmeric.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me tell you a little about the kalonji seeds.

Kalonji seeds have a mildly pungent flavor and are sometimes referred to as “black cumin.”  They’ve been described as tasting like a combination of black pepper, oregano and onions.  Personally, I love to toss a couple teaspoons of the seeds into dough when I’m making bread or pizza dough.

black onion seeds, kalonji, indian onion seeds, nigella seeds, nigella

 At this point, your dish should look something like this:

Bengali Potatoes

Stir everything so that the potatoes are evenly coated with both the turmeric and the kalonji seeds.  Keep stirring and frying being sure not to let the potatoes burn.

Once the potatoes begin to turn a little brown and crispy I usually toss in a little water and put the lid on the pan.  This helps the potatoes cook a little faster.  I’m impatient!

bengali mustard oil potatoesAfter the potatoes are fully cooked I toss in some freshly chopped coriander (cilantro) as well as some chopped scallions (green onions).

Bengali Mustard Oil PotatoesI give everything a good stir and toss in a little salt for flavor. I then keep the lid removed so that any extra water can evaporate and my curry can become quite dry.

mustard oil potatoes, bengali potatoes, easy spiced potatoes, indian potatoes

See how easy that was?  Simple!

Aloo Sabzi (sabzi simply means: vegetable side-dish) Recipe:


  • 2 or 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled (if desired) and diced
  • 1-2 tbsp. pure mustard oil
  • 1 tsp. kalonji seeds (nigella seeds)
  • 3-4 dried red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric powder
  • 1/8 c. chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1/8 c. chopped scallions (green onions)
  • 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. water
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Heat oil in a medium sized pan.  Add kalonji seeds and dried red chilies.
  • Once the oil becomes hot and the kalonji begin to pop, toss in the diced potatoes and the ground turmeric powder.  Stir everything really well so that the turmeric coats the potatoes evenly.  Let cook in the oil, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.
  • Add a little water to the pan (around 1/4 to 1/2 cup) and cover the potatoes.  Let cook until the potatoes soften completely–about 8 minutes, or so.
  • Remove the lid and tip in the chopped coriander and chopped scallions.  Stir to mix and then cook until the water evaporates and the curry becomes dry.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.  Enjoy!

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21 thoughts on “Aloo Sabzi: Potatoes Cooked in Mustard Oil

    1. Shari Post author

      Thank you! I wish I had patience…but sadly I don’t even have the patience to work on being more patient. lol

    1. Shari Post author

      hello! Thanks for the comment! I purchased the mustard oil and the kalonji seeds at my local Indian market. If you don’t have an Indian market near you, you could check online. I noticed amazon is charging way too much money for the mustard oil though, it should cost between 3-4 dollars…at the most 5 or 6 for a 16.9 oz bottle. If you have a Walmart near you, I’ve seen it there as well–near the Indian/Chinese ingredients.

  1. mustardseed

    What a delicious sabzi! I LOVE mustard oil and I feel anything cooked with it tastes delicious! Especially enjoy aloo parathas cooked with mustard oil

  2. sylviadewy

    This one is so awesome.. I am on my way to get some mustard oil. However I just have one question, can I try this recipe with sweet potato recipes too?? Just wondering the taste of mustard and sweet potatoes; will it blend??

    Thanks in advance

    1. Shari Post author

      I’m not sure how mustard oil would match with sweet potatoes…Piyush says it will taste good, but it won’t be the same as using plain potatoes.

      1. sylviadewy

        Okay.. I will try this version soon and let you know about it. But yeah with plain potatoes it taste just awesome.. 🙂

  3. That other cook...

    I’m terrified at trying to cook Indian, seems daunting, complicated and full of loud spices that im sure need a skillful person to craft good flavor, but I think I could manage this recipe. I hope it’s not too spicy, and Im super curious about this mysterious oil!

  4. Mustard oil india

    Yes I agree with that Sometimes the most ordinary of foods can be made extraordinary simply by pairing them with the right ingredients. I love Mustard oil but now I am fan of Mustard oil after read your article.

  5. Pingback: Best Vegan Sources of Omega 3 (ALA, EPA & DHA)

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