Turmeric potatoes dance on my mind and taste buds. In the summer I am very inspired by Indian cooking. Maybe it’s the heat, or just the opportunity to serve food at ambient temperature and you don’t worry that the food you’ve just lovingly prepared will get cold.

I have been forever influenced by my travels and my imagination flairs at the sight of a simple vegetable like a potato. I love them plain with crunchy salt, ample extra virgin olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper. But then my mind flashes back to Rajasthan to the colorful and sublime Aloo Katliyan; potatoes drenched in tempered spices in ghee with a squeeze of lemon. I make them often — one week even twice: once for my daughter’s birthday luncheon and another time for a complete Indian dinner party. It goes madly beside Shrimp Piri Piri or a fresh leafy greeen salad.

This recipe for Aloo Katliyan (Turmeric Potatoes) is originally from the stunning Taj Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur where we stay during our Culinary Adventure in Rajasthan, India. I have slightly modified it but it still embodies the richness of this luxury hotel of dreams in the middle of a lake.

Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur

8 small-sized yellow potatoes
1 onion, sliced thin
generous oil for the bottom of the pan (olive, coconut, ghee, or other)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch asafoetida (if you have it)
20 each curry leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp whole dried red chiles (bird’s eye) chopped
Salt to taste
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (divided)
1 lemon, juiced
fresh coriander for garnish
1 pinch chat masala (optional)

Peel and slice the potatoes into roundlets.
Boil the potatoes in ample water with 1 tsp turmeric until the potatoes are just done. Drain and set aside.
Tip: don’t overcook the potatoes, they will become mushy. If you prefer, you can peel and cook the potatoes whole and slice later.
Caramelize the onions in the butter or ghee.
(It’s easier to temper the spices in the oil or ghee if you use a rounded pan like a kadhi or wok, but if you don’t have one, just use a frying pan! )
Add mustard seeds and let them crackle.
Add asafoetida, curry leaves, chopped dried chile and turmeric. Add potatoes and salt and toss gently in the tempered spices. Add lemon juice.
Finish the turmeric potatoes with fresh coriander and a pinch of chat masala, and if dry, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

P.S. If you don’t have asafoetida, curry leaves or chaat, don’t worry! It tastes fabulous just the same!

Thanks to the Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur for this recipe, which we have slightly adapted.

And there you have a tastebud dancing Aloo Katliyan.

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