Alu Tarkari Recipe: A Delicious Vegetarian Dish from India

Alu Tarkari

Alu Tarkari Recipe: A Delicious Vegetarian Dish from India
Region / culture: India | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Alu Tarkari
Alu Tarkari

Alu Tarkari, a simple yet profoundly flavorful dish, is a staple in many households where the humble potato is celebrated. This recipe transforms basic ingredients into a comforting and aromatic curry, perfect for those seeking warmth and nourishment in a bowl. It's a versatile dish that pairs well with rice, bread, or even as a standalone meal.


The origins of Alu Tarkari can be traced back to the Indian subcontinent, where potatoes were introduced by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Since then, this versatile vegetable has become an integral part of the region's cuisine. Alu Tarkari, in particular, has evolved through generations, with each household adding its unique touch to the recipe.


How to prepare

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into four pieces.
  2. Heat the oil, then add the onion and garlic; fry until they become glazed.
  3. Stir in the masala.
  4. Immediately after, add the potatoes and enough water to just cover them.
  5. Also, add the sugar and salt (to taste).
  6. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes become tender.


  • To add a twist to the traditional Alu Tarkari, consider incorporating vegetables like peas, carrots, or bell peppers. For a spicier version, increase the amount of curry powder or add fresh green chilies.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best Alu Tarkari, choose potatoes that are firm and free from sprouts. Cutting them into uniform pieces ensures even cooking. To enhance the flavors, let the curry simmer on low heat, allowing the potatoes to absorb the spices fully. Adding a pinch of asafoetida (hing) can also elevate the dish's aroma and aid in digestion.

Serving Suggestions

Alu Tarkari can be served with a side of basmati rice, naan bread, or chapatis. For a complete meal, accompany it with a portion of dal (lentils) and a fresh cucumber salad.

Cooking Techniques

The key to a flavorful Alu Tarkari lies in the technique of bhunao, which involves frying the spices at a high temperature to release their flavors before adding the main ingredients. This technique is crucial for achieving the depth of flavor characteristic of Indian curries.

Ingredient Substitutions

If curry powder is not available, a blend of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garam masala can be used as a substitute. For a healthier version, coconut oil can replace sunflower oil.

Make Ahead Tips

Alu Tarkari can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors tend to deepen over time, making it even more delicious the next day.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Alu Tarkari in a traditional clay pot or a colorful serving bowl, garnished with fresh cilantro and a wedge of lemon for added zest.

Pairing Recommendations

Alu Tarkari pairs beautifully with a dry Riesling or a light-bodied Pinot Noir, which complements the spices without overpowering the dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply warm it on the stove over medium heat, adding a little water if necessary to prevent sticking.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Alu Tarkari contains approximately 150-200 calories, making it a moderate-calorie dish suitable for those managing their calorie intake.


A serving of Alu Tarkari primarily provides carbohydrates, with each serving containing approximately 30-40 grams. The potatoes are the main source of these carbohydrates, offering energy for daily activities.


The fat content in Alu Tarkari is relatively low, with about 5-10 grams per serving, depending on the amount of oil used. Using sunflower oil, as suggested, provides a healthier fat option rich in vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids.


Alu Tarkari is not a protein-rich dish, containing about 2-3 grams of protein per serving. To increase the protein content, consider adding paneer (cottage cheese) or serving it with a side of lentils.

Vitamins and minerals

Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. The addition of onions and garlic also contributes to the intake of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, and manganese.


This recipe is free from common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and gluten. However, those with specific food sensitivities should adjust the recipe accordingly.


Alu Tarkari is a balanced dish, providing carbohydrates for energy, a moderate amount of healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. It's a low-calorie, allergen-friendly option suitable for various dietary needs.


Alu Tarkari is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking. This recipe, steeped in history and tradition, offers a nutritious and flavorful meal that caters to a variety of tastes and dietary needs. Whether you're a novice cook or a seasoned chef, Alu Tarkari is a dish that promises to delight and nourish.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately captivated. It was a hot summer day, and I was visiting a local market in a small village in Nepal. The aroma of spices and herbs filled the air, and I couldn't help but be drawn towards a small stall where a kind old woman was cooking up a storm.

I watched in awe as she deftly chopped vegetables, sautéed spices, and simmered everything together in a large pot. The resulting dish, Alu Tarkari, looked absolutely delicious. I couldn't resist asking the woman for the recipe, and to my surprise, she agreed to teach me how to make it.

As we cooked together, she shared stories of her own grandmother teaching her the recipe when she was just a young girl. She explained that Alu Tarkari was a traditional Nepali dish made with potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and a blend of spices that had been passed down through generations.

I listened intently, taking mental notes of each step and ingredient. The woman's hands moved with such precision and grace, as if she had been making this dish her entire life. I couldn't help but feel a sense of admiration for her culinary skills and the way she honored her family's traditions.

After hours of cooking and stirring, the Alu Tarkari was finally ready. The woman ladled generous portions into bowls and handed me a spoon. I took a hesitant bite, unsure of what to expect. But as soon as the flavors hit my taste buds, I was in heaven.

The potatoes were perfectly cooked, the tomatoes were tangy and sweet, and the spices added a depth of flavor that I had never experienced before. It was a symphony of tastes and textures that danced on my tongue, leaving me craving more.

I thanked the woman profusely for teaching me the recipe and bid her farewell. As I walked back to my own home, I couldn't stop thinking about the incredible dish I had just learned to make. I couldn't wait to share it with my family and friends, and to pass on this delicious recipe to future generations.

Over the years, I have made Alu Tarkari countless times, each batch better than the last. I have tweaked the recipe here and there, adding my own personal touch, but the heart of the dish remains the same.

Whenever I cook Alu Tarkari, I am transported back to that hot summer day in the village market, watching the kind old woman work her magic. I am reminded of the power of food to connect us to our past, to our loved ones, and to our roots.

And as I sit down to enjoy a bowl of piping hot Alu Tarkari with my family, I am filled with gratitude for the rich tapestry of recipes and stories that have been woven into my life. Each dish is a reminder of the love and care that has been passed down through the generations, and I am honored to carry on that tradition in my own kitchen.


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