Potato Kurma also known as Aloo Kurma is a specialty of Andhra and Telangana Regions of Southern India. Aloo kurma is a dish of potatoes simmered in a delicious, spicy and super flavorful kurma gravy. In the past, a traditional Andhra wedding or a special meal was incomplete without aloo kurma, Vegetable Pulao & a raita (perugu pachadi). Tender potato chunks swimming in this finger-licking good & rich gravy is a favorite among the curry lovers.
In this post I share the traditional way to make potato kurma. It can be served with pulao, Ghee rice, biryani, chapati, parotta or even with any other flavored rice dishes.
Korma also known as kurma is a popular dish in the South Asian countries, made with meat or vegetables, nuts, seeds, yogurt, spices and herbs. You will find close to a dozen variations of making korma in India and every region/state has a different way of making this.
In Indian Cuisine, there are so many ways a Potato Curry/side is made. Each one is prepared uniquely such that the flavor, texture and color are unique and are made specifically to go with a special dish.
A Potato Masala for dosa, Poori Masala for poori, Potato Sagu for rava idli, Dum aloo for rice/ roti/naan are all variations of the potato curries. Plenty of whole spices, fresh herbs like mint, the use of coconut and yogurt is what makes this aloo kurma distinct from a regular potato curry.
This is a staple in a lot of Telugu Speaking homes and sometimes boiled green peas are also added. The recipe of aloo kurma shared here is from my Mom. On occasions she would use only yogurt, sometimes poppy seeds with coconut and sometimes all of them together.
The gravy tastes different with all these 3 combinations. The last combination is heavier for digestion and is good if you make it for lunch and not for dinner.
My Mom always parboiled the whole potatoes before adding them to the curry as some kinds of potatoes take a lot of time. It is up to you regarding that.
However if you are using yogurt, I highly recommend boiling them till 90% cooked (slightly undercooked) before adding it to the kurma gravy. Pour lesser water in this case.
I have limited the whole spices to minimum here because I had no access to them. Stone flower (dagad phool), 1 masala elaichi (Black cardamom) and small portion of nutmeg are missing from the tempering. If you want you may add them.
How to Make Potato Kurma (Stepwise photos)
1.Add 3 tbsps of chopped coconut (or ¼ cup grated) and 2 tbsps of poppy seeds to a grinder jar. If you do not have poppy seeds, replace them with cashews or fried gram. Make a smooth and thick paste using little water. If you do not want to use coconut & poppy seeds just use half cup curd/ yogurt. Using only curd gives a different taste to the curry and is not as thick as the coconut one, but tastes good.
2. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a pan or pressure cooker. Add 2 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, 1 star anise, 1 inch cinnamon and half teaspoon cumin or shahi jeera. You can also use a bay leaf and a single strand of mace. Let them sizzle.
3. Add 1¼ cup of finely chopped onions and fry until golden.
4. Next add 1½ teaspoon of ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell is gone.
5. Add ¾ cup of finely chopped tomatoes, half teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon of turmeric.
6. Fry until the tomatoes completely get mushy and blend well with onions.
7. Add ¾ teaspoon of red chili powder, 1 to 1½ teaspoon of garam masala and ¼ tsp fennel seeds crushed or powdered. Fennel seeds impart a unique flavor. You can pulse them in a grinder with garam masala and use.
Make Aloo Kurma
8. Next add 2 tablespoons pudina/ mint or coriander leaves. Fry everything well for 1 more minute. I suggest not to skip this step as well since this imparts a good flavor.
9. Add coconut paste. If you want to use yogurt, whisk half cup curd in a bowl until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the onion tomato masala we made earlier from step 8 to the yogurt. Mix everything well. Reduce the heat completely and pour that to the pan slowly.
10. Mix everything and fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the kurma base begins to smell good.
11. Add 1½ to 2 cups cubed potatoes. If using yogurt, boil potatoes separately until 90% done but not mushy. Add them here.
12. Pour hot water to cover the potatoes. I used 1 ¾ cups hot water. If you have boiled potatoes separately, you can use that water here. Do not add too much water as it makes your gravy runny.
13. Cooking korma on a low flame always yields the best taste. But if you are in a hurry, increase the heat and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Cook until the potatoes are completely cooked. If making in a pressure cooker, cook for one whistle. When the pressure reduces, open and stir well. Taste test and adjust salt now. If required to bring it to a thicker consistency, you can cook further on a high flame. Add coriander leaves.
Serve aloo kurma with Vegetable pulao, Roti, Naan, Veg biryani or ghee rice.
Potato Kurma (Aloo Kurma)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 3 large potatoes 1½ to 2 cups cubed
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1¼ cup onions finely chopped
- ¾ cup tomatoes finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 to 2 green chili slit (optional)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 to 1½ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds powder (sombu / saunf or ½ tsp crushed)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons pudina (fresh mint chopped)
To grind or use ½ cup thick fresh yogurt or thick coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons coconut chopped or ¼ cup grated coconut
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds or 8 cashewnuts
- ½ teaspoon Shahi jeera (or cumin seeds/ jeera)
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1 star anise (biryani flower)
- 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
- 4 cloves (laung)
- 1 strand mace (javitri, optional)
- 1 small bay leaf (or/& curry leaves)
- To make the kurma paste, add grated coconut and poppy seeds (or cashews) to a grinder jar. Pour little water and make a fine paste. Or If you want to use yogurt, add it to a bowl and whisk well with a fork. Keep this aside.
- If using yogurt, you need to add the diced potatoes to a pot and cover them partially with water. Cook until 90% done. Skip this step if using coconut.
- Pour oil to a hot pan. When the oil becomes hot, reduce the flame to low and add all the whole spices – bay leaf, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamoms, mace and shahi jeera or cumin.
- When they begin to sizzle, add the fine chopped onions. Increase the heat to medium and saute them until golden.
- While the onions fry, chop the tomatoes and the potatoes. keep the tomatoes aside & the potatoes in a bowl of water.
- When the onions are golden, add ginger garlic paste. Fry until the raw smell goes away, for about 40 to 60 seconds.
- Transfer the tomatoes and sprinkle salt and turmeric. Fry until the tomatoes turn completely soft and blend well with onions.
- Next add mint and fry for a minute.
- Add garam masala, red chili powder and crushed fennel. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the raw smell of chili powder goes away.
How to Make Potato Kurma
- Add the coconut paste and mix well. If using yogurt in place of coconut, add 2 tablespoons of the onion tomato masala (from the previous step) to the yogurt and mix well. Lower the heat and pour this to the pan slowly.
- Mix well and fry until the mixture begins to smell good. Add potatoes and saute for 2 minutes.
- Pour 1½ to 1¾ water and stir. Bring it to a rapid boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook covered till the potatoes are fully cooked and oil rises to the top. You can also pressure cook on a low flame for one whistle.
- If the aloo kurma is runny, increase the flame and cook uncovered to evaporate some of the water. Turn off the heat when the kurma reaches a thick gravy consistency. Taste test and adjust salt.
- Add chopped coriander and Serve potato kurma with biryani, pulao or chapathi.
- If using yogurt or canned tomatoes, it is very important to use only 90% cooked potatoes. These acidic ingredients will hinder the potatoes from cooking.
- Adjust the amount of water as it depends on the kind of potatoes.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Aloo Kurma recipe first published in November 2014. Updated and republished in July 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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