Mamta's Kitchen

Potato Bhaji/Sabji 2, For Train Journeys and Picnics

Aloo Sabji - Train Valae Sukhe Aloo

Yashoda Gupta

This is a simple dish to make and can be used as part of a main meal, for picnics or as a toasted sandwich filler or even eaten on it's own, with chopped onions and a Green Chutney of your choice. Serves 4-6.

This is my mum's recipe and from down the memory lane! Before the days of dining cars on the trains in India, in the 50's and 60's, great excitement for us children was the special food our mum used to make for the train journeys. It consisted of Poori, this 'aloo bhaji', one or two other seasonal vegetables, an assortment of pickles and some nice sweets like Besan Laddoos or a Burfi of some sort, all carried in a Tiffin carrier. The Tiffin-carrier had multiple compartments stacked one top of another. Fruits, and sometimes yoghurt (dahi) in an earthenware pot, were bought from the station hawkers.

Water was carried in a Surahi (see last picture), an earthenware water carrier with a long, narrow neck, which kept the water cool in summer months. We all sat around and ate our food, using the lids from the Tiffin or pieces of newspaper or banana leaves as plates. It was like a picnic in the train, a lot of fun!


  • 500 gm. potatoes

  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

  • A small pinch of asafoetida powder

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (optional)

  • 1 tsp. of coriander powder

  • 1/2 tsp. of chilli powder (according to taste)

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/2 tsp. amchoor or dry mango powder or lemon juice to taste

  • 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala

  • A bunch of coriander leaves (optional), chopped finely


  1. Boil potatoes in their skin. Put them in a colander and run cold water over them. This will stop them cooking further.

  2. Peel when cool. Break or cut roughly into small, bite size pieces.

  3. Measure all ground spices into a small bowl and mix.

  4. Heat oil in a karahi or wok.

  5. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder, wait until seeds sputters, not allowing them to burn.

  6. Add ginger ad fry for a 1 minute.

  7. Turn the heat down and add all ground spices. Give a quick stir to release flavours. You can add a tablespoon of tomato puree at this stage, to give the dish more colour and a little tartness.

  8. Add potatoes, turn the heat up to medium and stir fry the potatoes for a few minutes, until all potatoes are well coated with spices. If they look too dry, add approximately 1 tbsp. water. This will allow the spices to coat the potatoes properly.

  9. Cook for a further 5 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring gently from time to time, taking care not to break the potatoes.

  10. Add coriander leaves, amchoor or lemon juice and garam masala. Mix.


  • Make sure that it is cool before packing, as potatoes go "off" very quickly if packed when hot, especially in warm weather.

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