Aloo Masala (Potato Masala Recipe)
Aloo Masala also known as Potato Masala is a simple and delicious South Indian side dish of boiled potatoes tempered with whole spices, onions and herbs. Also known as Dosa Aloo, this restaurant style Aloo Masala is served as a stuffing inside Crispy Masala Dosa. It is eaten alongside Coconut Chutney and Tiffin Sambar. Aloo masala can also be eaten as a side with Naan, Poori, roti & any kind of flatbreads.
Even more, serve it as a stuffing inside wraps, rolls and sandwiches. It tastes absolutely delicious with just anything!
Masala dosa gets its name from the aloo masala that is served with it. This flavorsome potato masala is the heart and life of the masala dosa, without that we call it a sada dosa meaning a plain dosa. Actually it is this aloo masala that makes you crave for the masala dosas every time.
In restaurants, they put this potato masala to use in many ways. They serve this with many kinds of dosas like Rava masala dosa, Rava onion masala dosa, Pudi masala dosa, Masala uttapam and many more. You can also serve it with Wheat dosa or Neer dosa as well.
It is the same that goes as a stuffing inside the street style Aloo Bonda and if you skip onions you can also use it to make Batata vada. And Yes! These are the same vada that go inside the ever popular Mumbai Vada Pav.
At home, we also serve this potato masala with variety rice dishes like – Lemon rice, Mint rice & Coconut rice & sometimes with Rasam-rice or Sambar-rice.
Aloo Masala Vs Poori Masala
This Aloo Masala may look similar to the Poori Masala but both differ in the taste, texture and consistency. In poori masala, tomatoes are used and the curry is of a flowy consistency because you want to dip your poori in that. But perfectly made potato masala is thicker.
However you will find too soggy and wet aloo masala being served in some places which actually makes your masala dosa softer too quickly.
About the Recipe
Making Aloo Masala is easy, simple and quick if you have some pre-boiled potatoes ready. I can say this is the easiest of the several potato curry recipes from Indian cuisine. This recipe also requires only a handful of ingredients but all of them are the key to get the aromatic flavors.
Traditionally aloo masala is made by boiling the potatoes until soft. A South Indian style tempering consisting of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, lentils, chilies and curry leaves is made. Sliced onions, fresh ginger, green chilies and curry leaves are briefly sautéed until tender along with the tempered ingredients.
Lastly potatoes are added to it and seasoned with salt. Garnished with coriander leaves. How lovely & easy right?
This potato masala is a staple in my home for breakfast and is done easily even on the busiest weekdays. Sometimes I also make this in the stovetop pressure cooker or instant pot. I have included the cooker instructions in the recipe card below.
The difference between the stovetop method and the pressure cooker is that the onions would become too soft in the pressure cooked method, which otherwise are kept slightly crunchy in the recipe.
You will find numerous variations of this potato masala in Bangalore restaurants. Cashews, green peas and green bell pepper (capsicum) are sometimes added to the tempering. If you want you may add 10 to 15 cashews to the tempering when the lentils are half done.
To add green peas, you may use half cup of boiled peas along with the potatoes. I use frozen peas which do not require boiling so I add them directly to the pan, after frying the onions. Saute only for 2 to 3 mins before adding the potatoes.
If you like to add bell peppers, add them along with onions and saute until they are slightly tender yet crunchy.
For more Potato recipes, you can check
Aloo gobi masala
How to Make Aloo Masala (Stepwise Photos)
1. Boil 400 to 450 grams (about 1 lb) potatoes to fork tender in whatever way you like. In the cooker, steamer or directly in a pot. Here I cook them in a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring the water to a rolling boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until fork tender, meaning fully cooked but not mushy. If you are a beginner, I suggest cooking in a pot.
You can also boil the whole potatoes in a cooker. For this pour 1 cup water to your cooker and place a rack inside it. Place the potatoes in a bowl and pour half cup water. Place it over the rack and pressure cook for 3 whistles on a medium flame.
Make Potato Masala
2. On a medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. When the oil turns hot, lower the flame and add
¼ to ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chana dal (optional)
1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
Fry until the dals turn golden. Then add 1 pinch of hing (asafoetida).
3. Add ½ tablespoon ginger (grated or fine chopped). Fry until it begins to smell good. [Tip: Optionally you may pour 2 to 3 tablespoons water at this stage and cook until the dal becomes soft. Ensure the water is evaporated fully before you proceed to the next step.]
4. Next add
1 medium chopped or sliced onions (½ to ¾ cup)
1 sprig curry leaves
2 chopped or slit green chilies (skip for kids or deseed the chilies)
¼ teaspoon salt.
5. Fry until the onions turn pink & tender. Onions must have lost the raw smell completely.
6. Lower the flame, then add the
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon more salt. You can add turmeric to the onions to get a good color
7. Mash the potatoes gently with the spatula. You can also keep small cubes if you like it that way. Add little potato stock (potato cooked water) to bring together the potatoes. It will be fairly dry without the addition of water. I use about 3 to 4 tbsp. potato stock.
8. Mix everything well. Taste test and add more salt if needed. This is the texture we prefer and is good for dosa, sandwiches, rolls and lunch box as well. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.
Serve potato masala with dosa. To make sandwich I smear little Mint chutney or Coriander chutney to the bread first and then stuff this curry. Butter your bread and grill in the sandwich maker or pan.
Here are my tips to make this the best.
Lentils: Chana dal (Bengal gram) and urad dal (Skinned split black lentils) are used in the tempering. Both these lentils impart a nutty aroma and crunchy texture to the aloo masala. You may any one or even leave them out if you don’t have them.
Soaking Lentils: A lot of readers ask if the lentils should be soaked prior to adding to the tempering. Actually No! Traditionally they are not soaked. The nutty aroma comes from roasting the dried lentils and you won’t get that flavor and texture by soaking them.
But again it is a personal choice, if you want you may soak them for 15 mins in hot water, drain and pat dry before frying. Again there is no guarantee they won’t turn hard, if you over fry them they do turn hard.
Ginger: Fresh ginger is the key ingredient that not only adds gingery flavor but also adds mild hot and pungent notes to the dish. There is no substitute to this and dried ginger or ground ginger won’t work that well. However if you are left with no choice, add it directly just before adding the boiled potatoes to the pan.
Curry leaves: The trio – ginger, curry leaves and green chilies are a must in this recipe. If you don’t have simply leave them out and add lots of coriander leaves at the last stage.
Green chilies: This recipe uses no other ingredient for heat. So use as many as you want to make it spicy. If you do not want a spicy version, you may substitute with freshly cracked black pepper or dried red chilies. In India, hot green chilies are used. You can use any kind of chilli peppers like Thai chillies or serrano peppers.
Potatoes: Boil the potatoes until fork tender or until just done and not mushy. If the potatoes are cooked mushy, they will make your masala dosa soft when you stuff this.
Onions: Ensure you saute the onions well until the raw smell goes away. They must turn transparent and emit a sweet aroma.
Aloo Masala (Potato Masala Recipe)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups potatoes peeled & diced to 1 inch cubes (400 grams, 3 medium)
- 1 medium onions chopped or sliced (about ½ to ¾ cup)
- ½ tablespoon ginger chopped or grated (about 1 inch)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon chana dal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 to 2 green chilies chopped or sliced
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (use more if needed)
- 1 Pinch hing (optional)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped finely
How to make Aloo Masala (stovetop)
- Boil potatoes either in a pot or pressure cooker.
- If cooking in a pot, bring water to a boil and add the diced potatoes. Cook them just until done or fork tender and not mushy. OR If cooking in a pressure cooker, add the potatoes to a bowl and pour little water. Cover and pressure cook for 3 whistles on a medium flame.
- Ensure potatoes are just cooked and not very soft or mushy.
- Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin.
- When they begin to splutter, add chana dal and urad dal. Fry until golden and then add hing.
- Then add ginger and saute for 30 to 60 seconds until aromatic.
- Optional step to soften the dal – Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons water to the pan and cook until the dal turns soft. This is an optional step done to soften the dal. Ensure you evaporate all of the water before going to the next step.
- Add onions, green chili and curry leaves. Saute till the onions turn transparent.
- Once the onions turn transparent, add potatoes, turmeric and salt..
- Mash slightly and add very little water or potato boiled stock to make the entire potato masala moist. Stir and cook for one to 2 mins. Taste test and add more salt if needed.
- Add coriander leaves. Stir. Serve potato masala with dosa, puri, chapati, bread or rice.
Instant Pot Potato Masala
- Press SAUTE button and pour oil to the inner pot of the instant pot.
- Add mustard, cumin, chana dal & urad dal. Fry all of these until the dals turn golden.
- Then add curry leaves, onions and green chilies.
- Saute onions well until they turn transparent or pink. Add ginger and fry for 30 seconds.
- Transfer the diced potatoes (1 inch cubes), add salt, turmeric and pour ⅓ cup (80 ml) water.
- Press CANCEL button. Deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom with a spatula to release bits of food stuck.
- Secure the instant pot with the lid. Position the steam release handle or vent to sealing.
- Next press PRESSURE COOK button and set the timer to 4 mins (high pressure).
- When the instant pot is done, press cancel. Release the pressure manually by moving the steam release handle from sealing to venting.
- If there is any excess moisture left, evaporate it in the saute mode first.
- Give a good stir and lightly mash only after the excess moisture has evaporated. Add more salt if needed. Garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve potato masala with dosa, sandwiches, roti or even in wraps.
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
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.
Follow Swasthi’s Recipes
Really good recipe and tasty food. Used asafoetida for the first time. Now I need to learn to make puri to go with it !
Thanks Dick. Glad you like them.
I’m a student in the US trying to cook homemade foods and found your recipes very helpful. This aloo masala is delicious. Thank you
Happy to know the recipes are helpful. Thank you Malavika
Delicious and simple to make!
This is amazingly simple and so delicious! Thank you for sharing, and taking the time to concisely break down your notes and comments in each step. This dish I couldn’t nail it down on my own but now I’m so happy!
Glad to know! Thanks for sharing how it turned out.
Thank you so much!
Just made this and it’s so good!
Glad to know Nisha
Hi Swasthi, I can’t wait to try this recipe. But the Indian grocery near me has been out of fresh curry leaf for some time. What about dry curry leaf?
I am also curious what is the difference between this recipe and potatoes called “sookhi bhaji.”
Yes you can use dry curry leaves but the flavor won’t be the same. Add them to the tempering. This is almost the same as sukhi/sookhi bhaji. Some people use garam masala and red chilli powder for the bhaji. This one does not use.
Hope this helps
Delicious…. thank you sooo much…
After retirement from Air India, I started cooking for my Son as he likes tasty foods. I prefer to try your receipes or NDTV.
While making potato vegetable for Dosa, the chana daal is hard and crisp in final curry.
Kindly advise how to soften chana daal.
Thanks & Regrds,
God bless you !!!
Sunil Sharma. New Delhi
Namaskar Sunil sir,
Glad to know! After frying the ginger, pour 3 to 4 tablespoons water and cook until the dal becomes soft. Next evaporate the water completely and then add sliced onions.
The other way is to soak the dal for 30 mins to 1 hour in little hot water. Drain and then use as mentioned in the recipe. You can also skip the dal completely in the recipe. Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for the wishes.
Swasthi, my son made this to an alternative recipe he had. I got a sample – yum. Yours has now become his new favourite 🙂
As always a question 🙂 I struggle to get mustard seeds to pop (higher heat) without at the same time overcooking the cumin seeds (which can splutter at lower heat). Assume it would not matter if I popped the mustard on a higher heat first, then lowered heat for cumin to sizzle without burning – then add dal.
As always – so grateful for your efforts.
Thank you! Once the oil is hot enough, lower the heat and add the mustard seeds. Immediately followed by cumin and dal. Actually it won’t matter even if the mustards don’t pop in the beginning as they will pop later with the dal. Thanks for rating and leaving a comment.
Fantastic! I was looking for a ‘good’ recipe for Potato Bhaji and the way you have given the recipe, as you mentioned in the ‘About swasthi’ section is what “got” me. My 15-year old daughter shares my love for this dish and we got to make it today. It is an easy enough recipe, but as the other readers have noted and you too, you are so methodical, don’t waste time….etc.
I will be using your blog/website to make the Rajma and Chole recipes. Thank you so much!
You are welcome. So glad to know! Thank you so much!
Hope you enjoy the recipes.
Very good & delicious.
Delicious! We used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, and it made the aloo masala just a little sweet, which tasted awesome inside of dosas! This recipe, while super easy to follow and beginner friendly, tastes just like what you get in restaurants or what my grandma would make. Thanks!
Glad to know it turned out good. Thank you!
I am inspired to start cooking South Indian food again. My curry leaf tree in England will come into its own.
Yes do try the recipes!
Love your recipes.. excellent taste. They are not complicated.. simple and easy to make.
Like your magical tips along with the recipes..They make a lot of difference in taste.
Thank you !
Happy to know! Thank you so much!
Looks great! The only thing I added was a spoon of besan, makes it a-amazing.
Glad to know Keerthana
I have made this a few time’s already as we really enjoy the potato with dosas. Thank you for posting it.
Glad to know!
Very nice recipes. Thank you for sharing
I don’t have the channa daal or urad daal right now. Can I add some gram flour, or should I just skip it completely?
Going to try this out right now.
Hope you like it
Made it today. Followed the recipe and the potatoes came out delicious!! The pictures accompanying the recipe are very helpful. Thank you.
You are welcome! Glad it came out delicious. Thank you!