potato, pea and tomato

This potato and pea curry with tomatoes is probably the most popular vegetable curry in India. 

It is known as alu matar tamatar and every region in India makes this. Which, given that most of the important ingredients are not native to India, is quite remarkable.

The version presented here is typical of Bengali cooking. The Kashmiri version is surprisingly hot and spicy and does not have peas. The Punjabi recipe tends to have a more creamy and rich tomato sauce, with the boiled potatoes floating in it. In the southern part of India, it tends to be quite dry, and will often use more fresh and dried red chillies. The recipe presented here is meant to be moist, not swimming in sauce.

Potatoes will absorb a lot of the spicy sauces they are cooked in. Frying them, as this recipe does, means they don’t absorb the sauce as much as other recipes.

You could substitute frozen peas for fresh peas, but it will taste so much better using fresh peas. We tend to use small cocktail potatoes that we halve. Peeling these potatoes is not really required.

It makes a great side dish and is wonderful on its own, served with simple rice or a chapati.

the recipe

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for the fried potatoes

  • 400 g potatoes - peeled and cut into 3cm cubes
  • 4 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

for the masala

to serve


  • Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water for eight minutes until just tender, then drain well.
  • Heat the mustard oil in a heavy-based saucepan or kadai over medium-high heat, add the potatoes and fry for five minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Add one teaspoon of turmeric, toss through the potatoes, and fry for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove and drain the potatoes. Set them aside.

for the masala

  • Heat a small pan over medium heat and add the coriander and cumin seeds. Toast for a few minutes, tossing frequently, until they become very aromatic. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before grinding to a fine powder.
  • Return the pan with the mustard oil to medium-high heat. Add the curry leaves and fry for one minute, then add the asafoetida and stir. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, then fry for ten minutes until the onions soften. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for five minutes, or until softened and lightly golden-brown.
  • Add the ground cumin and coriander seeds, the Kashmiri chilli powder, amchur, and turmeric, mix well, then fry for one minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, green chillies and 100ml water and stir together. Add the fried potatoes, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, adding a splash of water if anything catches on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the peas and garam masala, then cook uncovered for three minutes, or until the peas are just cooked.

to serve

  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.


  • Amchur, or dried mango powder, is readily available from Indian grocers.

private notes

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Serving: 150 g | Calories: 296 kcal | Carbohydrates: 36 g | Protein: 6 g | Fat: 15 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Sodium: 396 mg | Potassium: 888 mg | Fiber: 8 g | Sugar: 8 g | Vitamin A: 1286 IU | Vitamin C: 85 mg | Calcium: 66 mg | Iron: 3 mg

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