Tandoori aloo is a great vegetarian snack for all the tandoori lovers! This amazing tandoori aloo will please the palates of vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike!
In a recent friend’s gathering, I had served this tandoori aloo of mine and beyond my expectation everyone loved it more than anything else that were there in the menu! Well, I can resonate with my friends as I, too, got hooked to this delicious tandoori snack which is why I made this tandoori aloo again to devour as well as to share the recipe with you all! You can call this tandoori aloo the vegetarian counter part of quintessential tandoori chicken as the flavor profiles of both the dishes are very similar. Potato is one of the popular veggies in Indian cuisine and mostly everyone loves this vegetable. So, what could have been better than potato a.k.a. aloo to give that tandoori makeover and churn out this gorgeous tandoori aloo from the oven! Best part of this tandoori aloo is that it is a crowd-pleaser, hence best for party or potluck; you can pre-prep everything a night before which is recommended too for the flavors to penetrate deep inside and just grill them next day before serving which is exactly what I did. Plus, it heats up really well; so this tandoori aloo fits the bill perfectly.
If you are hosting a party at home and want to serve homemade food to your guests, then I can share a great tip which will ease your pressure a little without sacrificing any bit of entertainment for your guests. Assuming you will have both vegetarian and meat-lovers among your guests, you can first prepare the tandoori marinade by doubling or tripling the ingredients’ amount depending on the expected number of guests. Then divide the marinade into two portions and use one for making this tandoori aloo for veggie lovers and tandoori chicken for your non-vegetarian group of friends. Just make sure not to contaminate the two marinades and work on one at a time. This will not only create a food theme of your party, but you will also be appreciated for your niche thinking! And if you add my fail-proof & easy chicken dum biryani recipe to the main course, nothing can stop you from being the party Rockstar!
Now let’s discuss some tips and tricks of making the perfect tandoori aloo at home which are crisp on the outside and superbly juicy on the inside. While making this snack, I realized that there are few things to take note of in order to churn out the 10 on 10 tandoori aloo! First, let’s talk about the potatoes. The best tandoori aloo is made of baby potatoes which is in season during the winter months. When you use seasonal produce for any recipe, you are already a step ahead in the game; so I would suggest you to enjoy these delectable tandoori aloo during winter months the most. But don’t worry, you can replicate the same recipe using regular potatoes in any month of the year; just cut them into 1-inch cubes and proceed as usual. Now, I know these baby potatoes call for some extra love and care in order to be perfectly cooked and get the gorgeous makeover. These baby potatoes take significantly longer time to become tender and cooked through; hence it is important to boil the potatoes in water before marinating them and make sure that they are completely cooked and soft to touch. Also remember that as these baby potatoes cool down, it will regain some of its firmness specially when you chill them overnight in refrigerator after marinating in yogurt mixture.
Second important point to take care of is seasoning the potatoes right as no one will love to eat bland potatoes no matter how good your marinade is. Salt is the taste-extractor in any recipe and it’s very important to ensure that the seasoning adheres to the potatoes really well. If you are a pro cook you may already know that potatoes are real salt drinker, these baby potatoes being even little ahead in the hierarchy compared to regular potatoes. So, there are specific steps which I implement in order to salt my potatoes right – first, boil them in heavily salted boiling water and by ‘heavily’ I mean about 4 to 5 teaspoon heavy in about 2 liters of water; secondly, after peeling the potatoes, toss them in 1 teaspoon of salt when they are still warm. The remainder warmth in the potatoes will help soak up the salt more effectively making sure they go deep inside. This trick is really amazing and whenever I use baby potatoes in any recipe, I implement this one which have proved to give very satisfactory result. Finally, when you are grilling the potatoes, you may start wondering about how long to grill them as the potatoes are already pre-cooked. In my case, it took about 20 minutes per side but you can judge from the look of the marinade which clings to the potatoes – it should change color & look somewhat firmed up and the potatoes should get charred on the edges; don’t worry the potatoes won’t get over-cooked; the grilling will only let the potatoes marry the tandoori marinade and make them beautiful! Try this tandoori aloo at home and let me know how it turned out!
- Baby potatoes – 1 kg
- Hung curd – 1 & ½ cup [refer to notes below]
- Ginger paste – 2 tbsp
- Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
- Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 3 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Red chili powder – ½ tsp
- Kashmiri red chili powder – 2 tsp
- Garam masala – 1 tsp
- Amchur/dry mango powder – ¼ tsp
- Black pepper powder – ½ tsp
- Besan/roasted gram flour – 2 tbsp
- Tomato paste – 2 tbsp
- Kasoori methi – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Red food color – ⅛ tsp (optional)
- Wash the baby potatoes thoroughly. Take them in a large saucepan and fill it with enough water (about 2 liters) so that all potatoes remain inside the water. Add 4-5 teaspoons of salt and bring the water to boil on high heat.
- Once the water starts boiling, reduce the flame to medium-low and cook the potatoes until completely cooked through. Baby potatoes take time to cook; mine took more than 45 minutes. You need to boil them until they are soft; they again become little firm as they cool down.
- Drain the water and let them cool down a bit so that they can be handled. While the potatoes are still warm, peel them and transfer to another clean bowl. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the peeled and warm potatoes and toss them to nicely coat with salt.
- In another large mixing bowl, add all the other ingredients – hung curd, ginger & garlic paste, mustard oil, all powdered spices, besan, tomato paste, kasoori methi and salt to taste. Whisk everything thoroughly to make a uniform mixture. If using food color, add it to the yogurt mixture and whisk vigorously so that the color is distributed evenly.
- Add the boiled potatoes to the curd mixture and coat each of them well with the marinade. Cover with a plastic wrap and let them chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight so the flavors penetrate deep into the potatoes.
- When you are ready to grill, preheat your oven to 200 C / 400 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay the marinated potatoes in a single layer to ensure even grilling. Reserve if you have any left-over marinade in the bowl.
- Bake the tandoori aloo in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then take them out and flip each potato. Brush the flipped side of the potatoes with the reserved marinade and put them back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until they are charred on the edges and turn deep red in color.
- Your tandoori aloo is ready to serve – sprinkle some chaat masala and serve the tandoori aloo along with lemon wedges, coriander-mint chutney and onion salad on the side. Enjoy!