Join Culinate

With a free Culinate membership, you can:

  • Create your own recipe collections
  • Queue recipes for later use
  • Blog your culinary endeavors
  • Be part of our online community of cooks
  • And much more…
Join Now

Aloo Achaar

Pallavi’s Potato Salad

From the book Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by
Serves 4 to 6

Culinate editor’s note: I have made this salad with and without the asafetida and fenugreek, and liked it both ways. I also opt for a blend of hot green chiles and green bell pepper and use Middle Eastern ground sesame seeds: tahini.


Eaten frequently as a snack, this potato salad comes from the kingdom of Nepal on India’s northern frontier. Its dressing is made of ground sesame seeds, sesame oil, lemon juice, and hot green chiles. The chiles provide the “hotness” and lots of vitamin C. If you do not like hot foods, regular green pepper can be substituted for the hot chile. Asafetida is also used in this recipe, chiefly because of its digestive powers.

Even though aloo achaar can be eaten an hour or two after it’s made, it tastes best when the dressing has been allowed to be absorbed for 12 hours; it keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


4 medium-sized waxy boiling potatoes
4 Tbsp. ground roasted sesame seeds
3 Tbsp. or more lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 to 4 hot green chiles, very finely minced, or 2 tablespoons minced green pepper
4 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. vegetable oil
~ A pinch of ground asafetida
8 to 10 whole fenugreek seeds
3 Tbsp. minced cilantro/Chinese (or other) parsley


  1. Put the potatoes to boil.
  2. Combine the ground sesame seeds, lemon juice, salt, and green chiles in a stainless-steel or non-metallic bowl. Add the 4 tablespoons of sesame oil, a few drops at a time, and beat in with a thin wire whisk or fork.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a metal ladle (hold the ladle over the heat) or a small butter warmer. When very hot, put in the asafetida and fenugreek seeds. As soon as the fenugreek seeds begin to darken (this takes a few seconds), pour the oil and spices into the dressing. Mix well. Add the minced Chinese parsley and mix again. Check seasonings.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and peel them while they are still hot. If necessary, hold them with a fork to do so. Dice the hot potatoes into ¾-inch cubes. Put the diced potatoes into the bowl with the dressing and mix gently. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
  5. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate if not eating within the next couple of hours. This salad may be eaten cold or at room temperature.

This content is from the book Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.

There are no comments on this item
Add a comment

Think before you type

Culinate welcomes comments that are on-topic, clean, and courteous. For the benefit of the community we reserve the right to delete comments that contain advertising, personal attacks, profanity, or which are thinly disguised attempts to promote another website.

Please enter your comment

Format: Bare URLs are automatically linked; use this style: [ "place text to be linked here"] for prettier links. You may specify *bold* or _italic_ text. No HTML please.

Please identify yourself

Not a member? Sign up!

Please prove that you’re not a computer

Dinner Guest

The gamification of cooking

Earning points

Most of the time with cooking and eating, the rules are clear.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice