Bombay potatoes are simple, quick and big on taste. Baby potatoes are steamed in the instant pot or stovetop , tossed in a few spices and dressed with lemon juice, green chillies and cilantro. They are crispy and slightly spicy with soft insides. This vegan Bombay aloo recipe is a delicious side dish that also works as the main dish when paired with chapatis (Indian flatbread).
If you like Indian potato recipes, do try this aloo curry too. It's made with boiled potatoes but unlike this recipe, it's not dry. There is a lot of sauce that you can mop up with some warm naan or rice.
Looking for an easy side to serve with that korma or pulao? These spicy Bombay potatoes or masala aloo is the answer. I love their simplicity, and they don't take much effort to make. The ingredient list is short too. It's Indian cooking at its best:)
Heck, they are good enough to be the main dish if what you want is a quick and healthy weeknight meal. Make some dal fry (lentil curry) and raita (yogurt dip) and serve the trio with some fresh flatbreads like chapati or paratha. Done. Who said Indian food is complicated?
- Baby potatoes
- Cooking oil
- Black mustard seeds
- Turmeric powder
- Mango powder or amchur (optional)
- Garam masala
- Thai chillies
- Cilantro leaves
- Lemon juice or lime juice
Options and substitutions
1. Mango powder gives a pleasing flavor to the potatoes but it is optional. If you are using lemon juice, it can compensate for the lack of this spice.
2. This is a basic recipe for Bombay potatoes. If you want them spicier, you can add half a teaspoon cayenne or red chili powder to them as well.
3. Like the taste of garlic with potatoes? Add a teaspoon chopped garlic cloves to the oil before adding the potatoes and spices. You will get garlicky masala aloo. I love adding garlic to anything and everything:)
4. If you don't like cilantro, sub with any herb of your choice. Mint parsley or curry leaves will work too.
How to make Bombay potatoes in the instant pot
You will need a steamer basket (see equipment needed below) that fits inside the instant pot. If you don't have one, use the trivet that came along with the appliance. It will serve the same purpose, but it won't accommodate more than a few potatoes at a time.
1. Add 1 cup water to the steel insert and place the steamer basket in the insert. Arrange the potatoes in the steamer basket.
2. Pressure cook the potatoes on high for 4 minutes, then release the pressure after 5 minutes. Open the pot and remove the steamer basket.
3. Once the potatoes cool down somewhat (you can put the basket under cold running water to speed up the cooling), peel and halve them.
4. Turn the instant pot to saute and add cooking oil and mustard seeds. Once the seeds are sizzling (1 minute), add the cooked potatoes, turmeric, dry mango powder, garam masala, green chillies and salt. Stir the potatoes in this spice mix a few times to make sure all of them are well coated with the spices (3-4 minutes). If the potatoes start sticking, deglaze with a splash of water.
5. Finally, add the cilantro and lemon juice, and Bombay potatoes are ready to be served.
1. Instant Pot Duo - if pressure cooking the potatoes.
2. Steamer Basket - this is a collapsible basket that is very easy to store. It fits inside the instant pot and is easy to lift out. Once you're done, it folds in on itself and you can store it even in a tight space in your kitchen cabinet.
2. Cast Iron Skillet - (if making the potatoes on the stovetop) - I love using my cast iron skillet instead of a light non-stick pan because in a skillet, the potatoes form a beautiful golden brown crust. It's also way healthier to cook food in a cast iron skillet than a non-stick pan.
A few tips to make the perfect Bombay aloo
- The potatoes should be soft but still retain their shape. If they become too soft, they will break when mixed in with the spices. We are not making mashed potatoes here, so do be careful!
2. I like to peel the potatoes because I find that the spices penetrate better. However, if you are short on time or don't like the idea of losing the nutrients in the potato skins, don't peel them. With baby potatoes, you can get away with not peeling them.
3. If you find that the spices or potatoes are sticking to the bottom of the pot as you saute them, add a few tablespoons of water and deglaze.
Stovetop masala aloo
If you're making these potatoes on the stovetop, try making them in a skillet. They will become crispy and golden-brown on the outside with all the spices and soft inside. If you don't have a skillet, you can make these in your regular frypan too.
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a roiling boil and add the baby potatoes. There should be enough water to cover the potatoes completely. Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove, cover the potatoes and let them simmer in the steam for 10 minutes.
Do the fork test - the potatoes should be cooked through but just to check their doneness, poke a fork in the middle of one potato. If it goes through without any resistance, your spuds are done. They should not be too soft, however, or they'll break when you cook them in the pan.
2. When the potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel and halve them.
3. Heat the oil in a well-seasoned skillet and add the mustard seeds. When they start sizzling, add the potatoes and all the spices, salt and green chillies. Toss the potatoes around until they are well coated with the spice mix (2 minutes). As in the instant pot, add a few tablespoons of water to prevent the spices from burning. Now, you can lower the heat a bit and let the potatoes become crisp in the pan (2-3 minutes). The spices will stick to the potatoes and form a light brown crust. This is the time to take them out.
4. Add the lemon juice and cilantro and serve hot.
More instant pot vegan recipes
Bombay Potatoes (Masala Aloo)
- 6-quart Instant Pot Duo OR a saucepan
- 1.5 lbs baby potatoes
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon mango powder or amchur optional
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 2 Thai chillies sliced lengthwise
- 2 sprigs cilantro
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt to taste
Instant Pot Method
- Add 1 cup water to the steel insert of your instant pot and place the steamer basket in the insert. Arrange the potatoes in the steamer basket.
- Close the lid, check to make sure the steam release handle is on sealing, and set the instant pot to pressure cooking mode (high) for 4 minutes.
- Once the timer beeps, release the pressure after 5 minutes. Open the pot and remove the steamer basket. Throw the water remaining in the steel insert and put the steel insert back in the pot.
- Once the potatoes cool down somewhat (you can put the basket under cold running water to speed up the cooling), peel and halve them.
- Turn the instant pot to saute and add cooking oil and mustard seeds. Once the seeds are sizzling (1 minute), add the potatoes, turmeric, mango powder, garam masala, green chillies and salt. Stir the potatoes in this spice mix a few times to make sure all of them are well coated with the spices (3-4 minutes). Add 2-3 tablespoons of water if you find that the spices are sticking to the bottom.
- Finally, add the cilantro and lemon juice, and Bombay potatoes are ready to be served.
- Bring a saucepan of water to a roiling boil and add the baby potatoes. There should be enough water to cover the potatoes completely. Lower the heat and let the potatoes cook for 5 minutes. Switch off the heat, cover the saucepan with a lid and leave the saucepan on the hob for 10 minutes.
- When the potatoes cool down (rinse them under cold running water to speed up the cooling), peel and halve them.
- Put a skillet or a regular frypan on the stovetop and add oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. As soon as they start sizzling and popping, add the potatoes followed immediately by the spices (turmeric, mango powder, garam masala), salt and slit green chillies. Toss the potatoes in this spice-mix until they are well coated (2 minutes). Add 2-3 tablespoons of water if the spices are sticking to the pan. Lower the heat and let the potatoes become crisp in the pan (2-3 minutes).
- Add the lemon juice and cilantro and mix. Serve hot.
- Make sure the potatoes are not too soft or they will break when you toss them in the spices.
- Peeling the potatoes is your choice. If you like to have potatoes with skins on, go ahead and skip this step.
- If you cannot find mango powder, omit it. It does add some flavor to the potatoes but lemon juice will make up for it.
- This potato recipe is customizable - add half a teaspoon cayenne if you like your spuds hot or chopped garlic if you want them garlicky.