Recipes: Potato Halwa

Happy Navratri! Today is the first day of the nine days that are spent in prayer, contemplation, and celebrating women.

Last year during Navratri, I wanted to make a different sweet each day as an offering to the Goddess. One of the days, when I didn’t know what to make and had some boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes in the fridge, I made this recipe which I found online. Usually only made from potatoes, I added sweet potatoes to the mix and the result was a super delicious halwa, which nobody could believe was made from potatoes!

This recipe is slightly heavier during the summer months because of the carb and starch content in the potatoes and so is apt for winters. Also, because it is heavy, you can make it if you are fasting as potatoes are the quintessential fasting vegetable.

Potato Halwa


  • 3 medium-sized potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/3 to ½ cup sugar according to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • A generous pinch of saffron
  • 2 tbsp chopped mixed nuts like cashews, almonds, and pistachios
  • 1 tsp raisins


  • Take the saffron in a small bowl and add 1 tbsp warm milk to it let the saffron dissolve. You may need to stir it a bit or even cook it in the microwave in 30-second increments.
  • In a small pan, with 1 tsp ghee, fry the mixed nuts and raisins and keep aside. You can also dry roast them as I did to make the recipe slightly healthy. Keep aside.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and when the ghee heats up, add the mashed potatoes.
  • Sauté on low heat for about 5-6 minutes until the potatoes start to change in colour and start becoming golden brown.
  • Add in the milk, sugar, cardamom powder and saffron and mix well to combine. The sugar will start to melt and the mixture becomes watery. Make sure you stir well that there are no lumps in this mixture.
  • Stir continuously until the halwa turns dry again and the ghee starts oozing out.
  • Add half the chopped nuts and raisins and mix well.
  • Cook for another minute and switch off the flame.
  • Serve warm garnished with the remaining nuts and raisins.
  • This dish is best served warm, so if you are planning to make it ahead of time, just warm it in the microwave or the stove and serve.

Recipes: Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Soup

These days we don’t eat rice on Sundays and so I am constantly on the look-out for recipes which we eat, mostly western dishes. One weekend, with an almost bare fridge, I decided to make a cauliflower and potato soup and decided to kick it up a notch by roasting the cauliflower first.

The soup was incredibly creamy and so filling. It also seemed to me to have a slight taste of mushroom soup and this was corroborated by BB & GG who loved it! I will be making this again and this will be added to my repertoire.

Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Soup


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and kept aside
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 10-12 cashew nuts
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsps Olive oil


  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius.
  • Line a large tray with either baking paper or aluminium foil and spread the chopped cauliflower in it. Drizzle about a tbsp of olive oil and then some salt and pepper and mix well. Pop it into the oven to roast for about 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflowers start to brown. Remove and keep aside.
  • Heat the balance oil and butter in a large saucepan and when warm, add the galic cloves. When the garlic starts to brown, add the cashew nuts and stir for a few minutes.
  • Then add the chopped onions and stir until the onions are translucent.
  • At that point, add the chopped potatoes, some salt and cook covered until the potatoes are done, stirring every few minutes.
  • Let everything cool down and then blend it to a smooth paste in a blender. This works best with a proper blender and an immersion blender may not make it as creamy as we want it to be.
  • Once it is smooth and creamy, bring this back to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Season as needed with salt and pepper and serve hot with bread croutons.

Recipes: Shahi Aloo Matar

Another no onion, no garlic recipe, this time the classic aloo matar (potato and peas) curry reimagined without onions or garlic and made royal with the addition of some dry fruits and sesame seeds. It was super yummy and the addition of milk and yoghurt balanced the tartness of the tomatoes and also gives a slight sweetness to the recipe.

Shahi Aloo Matar


  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh green peas
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup skimmed milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 6 cashew nuts
  • 6 almonds
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Peel and chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and keep aside.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add 1 tsp cumin seeds and let them pop. Then add the fennel seeds. Next add the sesame seeds, cloves, cardamon, bay leaf and cinamon one at a time and stir for a few seconds before adding the next ingredient.
  • Next add the cashewnuts and almonds and stir till the nuts are slightly brown. Now add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt and let the tomatoes cook and become mushy. Remove, let it cool completely and grind it to a smooth paste with the yoghurt.
  • Heat the balance oil and add the balance cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the asafoetida and turmeric powder and stir for 2 seconds.
  • Then add the chopped potatoes and let them cook for about 5 mins, or until they are half cooked.
  • At this point, add the frozen peas and salt and let the potatoes and peas cook till they are around 75-80% cooked. Remove from the flame and keep aside.
  • In a new pan, add the ground paste and stir well. Add the dry spice powders – chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and cook covered till the oil leaves the sides of the pan and the raw smell disappears. This should take around 7-10 minutes.
  • Now add the cooked potaotes and peas to this paste and stir well. Add the milk and let it come to the consistency you need. You can also add some water or more milk if it is still thick. Simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mix together. Check for seasoning and garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
  • This goes very well with any Indian flatbread or even a jeera rice or pulao.

Recipes: Masala Potatoes

A very basic recipe, which can be modified to make it slightly richer as well as made with other vegetables and probably even meat, this gravy can also be made in advance and be frozen for when you need to make something in a hurry.

Masala Potatoes


  • 4-5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium-sized onions, chopped roughly
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Carom seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4-5 almonds
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 tbsp garam masala powder
  • 1-2 tbsp Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil


  • Keep the chopped potatoes in a pan of water so that it does not oxidise while you make the gravy.
  • In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and then add 1 tsp cumin seeds and let it splutter. Then add the fennel and carom seeds and stir for a few seconds each before adding the next spice.
  • When the spices splutter, add the garlic and ginger and saute it for a few seconds.
  • Then add the almonds and stir for a minute or so.
  • Now add the onions and saute till it turns translucent. When the onions turn translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and give it a good stir.
  • Add around a tsp of salt to let the onion and tomato become mushy. At the same time, add the red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and stir well.
  • Once the tomatoes are completely cooked and mushy, remove from the flame, let it cool down completely and then blend to a fine paste. You can add water as needed to thin it down while blending.
  • Drain the potatoes and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, use the balance oil and when it becomes warm, add the remaining cumin seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, add the turmeric powder and the asafoetida and then quickly add in the drained potatoes. Add a bit of salt, cover and cook on a low to medium flame till the potatoes are almost cooked.
  • At this point, pour in the prepared gravy and stir well, letting it come to a boil. Check the seasoning at this point and add what is missing.
  • Add the garam masala and crush the Kasuri Methi in the palms of your hands before sprinkling it over the gravy.
  • Let the gravy come to a nice rolling boil, reduce the flame and continue to boil for another five minutes.
  • Remove from the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with any rice or Indian flatbread.


  • This is a very basic gravy and if you want to make it richer, you can add cashew nuts along with almonds when cooking. Also adding cooking cream while the gravy is boiling (towards the end) will make it more rich and creamy.
  • I made this with only potatoes, but you can add any combination of vegetables, including paneer (or tofu), cauliflower, peas, carrots etc to make it more wholesome.

Recipes: Sweet Sour Potatoes

When I was in college, I used to make a potato recipe in a tamarind sauce a lot. That was a signature dish I had discovered in a magazine, most likely Women’s Era and had written it down. I did not bring that notebook with me when I moved to Singapore and now that recipe is lost.

The other day I suddenly started thinking of that recipe and turned to Google to see if I can find it somewhere in the world wide web. Unfortunately, I could not remember most of the ingredients and hence could not verify if any of the recipes were the same.

I did read a recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor which I felt was the closest to what I remembered and so adapted this recipe to my own. So here’s my version of tangy and sweet-sour potatoes.

Sweet Sour Potatoes


  • 1 cup potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into long fingers with the jacket on
  • 1 lemon-sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and pulped and make it into 2 cups of tamarind water (or if you are using tamarind paste, use 2-3 tsp of the same)
  • 2 tbsp (more or less) Jaggery (you can alternate this with brown sugar if you don’t have access to jaggery)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste


  • In a dry pan, dry roast the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and chillies separately till they start to emit a nice aroma. Make sure you don’t burn the spices. Keep aside, cool and blend into a fine powder.
  • Heat oil in a largish pan and when the oil heats up, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. When they pop, add the asafoetida and stir for a couple of seconds. Then add in the powdered spice mix and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Then pour in the tamarind water and jaggery and some salt and let it come to a nice rolling boil.
  • After about five minutes, when the raw smell of the tamarind goes away, add the potatoes and let them cook. Cook the potatoes till a knife pierced through one, goes in cleanly. Don’t overcook them. Check for salt at this point and add more if needed.
  • Finish off with taking the kasuri methi in the palms of your hands and crush it to release the oils and aroma and sprinkle it over the potatoes and gravy.
  • Switch off the gas and garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with rice or rotis (Indian flatbreads)