Next time you are planning a meal with a side of crispy fried potato chips, try this Bengali-style Aloo Bhaja instead. I guarantee you; it is one of the most simple recipes you would’ve ever come across and made. This way of crisp frying the potatoes is simply delicious. Although, there are innumerable ways one would go about, making this accompaniment. But this particular Aloo Bhaja recipe is the one that I make at my home. You can go for it this time!
About Aloo Bhaja
First things first, here’s what the dish would mean when translated to English from Bengali:
Aloo – Your favorite, my favorite, everyone’s favorite potato
Bhaja – Simply means fried
About 5 minutes of preparation, then 10 minutes of cooking and you have a simple Aloo Bhaja which can literally be considered as greatest of all times – side dish with your everyday dal-rice or khichdi meals.
If you have a mixed vegetable sabzi minus aloo, and chapatis or roti to go with it, you can even accompany that meal with this Bengali preparation as the perfect customary potato side dish. Add another side of fresh curd or raita, and turn the meal divine!
Said it before, saying it again, this Aloo Bhaja recipe is super simple and does not use many ingredients too. Just your potatoes, 2 of the most basic Indian spice powders, salt and mustard oil.
Basically, the faint pungency in the taste and aroma of the potato slices is due to the use of mustard oil to fry them. Also, because it is an essential cooking oil in Bengali cuisine.
Another variation that I add to this Aloo Bhaja recipe is that I sometimes dredge the potato slices with some rice flour and then fry them. This makes the potato slices crispier and they even absorb lesser oil while getting fried.
So, whenever I make another Bengali delicacy, the bhaja muger Khichuri, I end up making this Aloo Bhaja along with the Begun Bhaja (made with brinjal/aubergine/eggplant) too as the accompaniments. These are one of the best combinations for a khichdi. Unless you try, you’ll not really know.
How to make Aloo Bhaja
1. Rinse and peel 1 extra large potato or 3 medium potatoes (315 grams). Cut in slices of 0.3 cm to 0.4 cm thickess.
Also, heat a tawa or a flat cast iron skillet with 1 to 2 tablespoons mustard oil in it.
2. Take the potato slices in a mixing bowl. Add ½ teaspoon red chili powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt as required.
3. Mix very well.
Make Aloo Bhaja
4. Immediately, place the potato slices in the hot oil. Fry on medium-low to medium heat. Add less oil while frying in batches as potatoes absorb more oil.
5. When one side is lightly crisp, turn over and fry the second side.
6. Flip again and a couple of times and fry till the potato slices are crisp and golden.
This way fry in batches and add more oil if required. Overall, I used 2.5 tablespoons of oil for frying.
7. Remove fried potato slices and place them on kitchen paper towels for the extra oil to be absorbed.
8. Alternatively, you can also dredge the potato slices in some rice flour and then fry them.
This way the aloo becomes more crisp and less oil is absorbed. Sometimes, I follow this method also.
9. Serve Aloo Bhaja hot or warm as a side dish with khichdi, dal-rice or rasam-rice. For more tasty potato recipes, you can check this category of Potato Recipes.
The Bengali Bhaja
The Bengali community has more of a liking, towards its ‘bhaja food,’ meaning fried food. Apart from maach bhaja (fish fry), which is the most favorite of 99% of Bengalis around the world, there is a plethora of veggies too that they consume in this form.
Not just vegetables, it’s their flowers, stems/stalks, leafy greens, basically, other parts of an edible plant too, that get fried.
You see this particular community has always been a flagbearer of the root-to-stem cooking culture. A great thing for a more sustainable world, isn’t it?
As much as a Bengali would love their curries, a dal-bhaat (lentil-rice) combination would also be at the top of the list. So, whenever it’s a dal-rice kind of day for them, there has to be a bhaja alongside to complete the meal.
This Aloo Bhaja and the begun bhaja are two of the most popular ones in this list of veggie fries.
Some other loved ones include dharosh bhaja (with bhindi/okra/lady’s finger), phulkopi bhaja (with gobi/cauliflower), potol bhaja (with parwal/pointed gourd), kumro bhaja (with kaddu/pumpkin), etc.
There’s another very famous variation of the potato bhaja, known as the Jhuri Aloo Bhaja. This is super finely cut potato juliennes, which are crisply fried. Sometimes with curry leaves and peanuts as well. ‘Jhuri’ basically means the cut of the vegetable.
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- 315 grams potatoes or 1 extra large potato or 3 medium-sized potatoes
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- salt as required
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mustard oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Rice Flour – optional
- Rinse and then peel the potatoes. Cut in slices of 0.3 cm to 0.4 cm thickness. Also heat a tawa or frying pan with 1 to 2 tablespoon oil in it.
- Take the potato slices in a mixing bowl. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt as required.
- Mix very well.
- Immediately place the potato slices in the hot oil. Fry on medium low to medium flame. Add less oil as potatoes absorb more oil.
- When one side is lightly crisp, turn over and fry the second side.
- Flip again and a couple of times and fry till the potato slices are crisp and golden. This way fry in batches and add more oil if required. Overall I used 2.5 tablespoons mustard oil for frying.
- Remove each fried slice and place on kitchen paper towels for the extra oil to be absorbed.
- Alternatively, you can also dredge the potato slices in some rice flour and then fry. This way the alu bhaja becomes more crisp and less oil is absorbed. Sometimes I follow this method also.
- Serve aloo bhaja hot or warm as a side dish with khichdi, dal-rice, curd rice or rasam-rice.
- For a spicy version, add a bit more of the red chilli powder.
- Swap mustard oil with any neutral-flavored oil.
- The recipe can be scaled easily.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Aloo Bhaja recipe from the archives first published in December 2017 has been updated and republished on July 2023.