Pan-Roasted Potatoes with Five Spices

Aloo Bhona

This is one of the basic ways of cooking vegetables in eastern India. The vegetables are first cooked in a broth scented with panch phoron, a blend of five spices, and then pan-roasted. For great flavour and colour use purple or Yukon Gold potatoes. For a hotter dish, stir in 1 teaspoon chopped chiles or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne with the panch phoron.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
4 servings


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp panch phoron
  • 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes, left whole or halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered asafetida or minced garlic
  • coarse salt
  • black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the panch phoron and saute until the spices turn several shades darker. Add the potatoes and sprinkle with asafetida or garlic.

Fry the potatoes, turning and tossing until evenly coated with spices and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain off water and pan-roast until the excess moisture has evaporated and the potatoes are browned.

Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.