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Aloo Sabji with Saunf (Potato Sabji with Fennel Seeds)

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and fibre and so very satiating. They have a wonderful variety of nutrients including proteins and have been used as an important ingredient in areas where people lack food and nutrition. Most of the nutrition is contained in the skin so keep it on to ensure you get the most benefit out of them. Moreover, the skin is also alkaline in nature helping keep the pH level in your body in a better condition. Apart from the fibre, especially in the skin, potatoes contain vitamins C and B6, niacin and folate, and minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous, all of which help in maintaining sugar levels. They also contain compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids, which are antioxidants that help to fight free radicals that can lead to lifestyle diseases. With all these benefits all we need to be careful about is not to add oil to our potato dishes as that ruins all the goodness that potatoes can give us.

Recipe: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4 as part of a traditional Indian meal


  • 300 gms (2 medium or 3 small potatoes)
  • 1 medium sized onion chopped finely
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder  
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped ½ tsp salt or to taste

For the Dry Masala

  • 1 tsp chana dal (split chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 tsp dhania (coriander seeds)
  • ¼ tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1 tsp saunf (fennel seeds)
  • 15 to 20 kali miri (black pepper corns)
  • 5 dried red beydgi chillies (use the spicier variety if you want to increase the heat)

For the Tempering

  • 1 tsp rai (mustard seeds)
  • ¼ tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 10 to 15 (1 sprig) curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil


  • Wash and cut the potatoes into large cubes and boil or steam them till they are well cooked.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, dry roast the chana dal, urad dal, saunf, kali miri, dhania, jeera and red chillies on low to medium heat till they start changing colour and have lost all moisture. Cool and powder it. Keep this aside ready to use.
  • Heat the oil on medium to high heat in a thick bottomed kadhai (Indian wok) till it is almost at smoking point. Turn down the heat and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and once they start spluttering, add the asafoetida and curry leaves. Sauté this for a few seconds and then add the chopped onion continuing to sauté it till the onions are translucent and soft.
  • Add the boiled and chopped potatoes, the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, the salt and the ground masala. Sauté this for around ten seconds on medium heat and add half a cup of water (use the water in which the potatoes were boiled if there is any left), mix it all well, cover and cook till the water evaporates and the potatoes are all coated with the masala.
  • Add the chopped coriander give it one final mix and serve hot with rotis or as part of a traditional Indian meal.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Use unrefined salt like rock salt.

Do not use oil for the tempering. Either pressure cook the chopped onions with half a cup of water for one whistle or alternatively, rest the chopped onions for 15 minutes after mixing it with the salt. Sauté this onion on low to medium heat in a thick bottomed steel kadhai (Indian wok) till it is soft and translucent. Add a tablespoon of water if necessary to prevent it from burning.

Heat an iron tempering ladle and sauté the mustard seeds. Once they pop transfer them to the onion in the kadhai. Repeat with the jeera, asafoetida and curry leaves.

Continue with the rest of the recipe as above.

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