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Himalayan Delight

This blog has often taken its readers on delightful culinary voyages, exploring regions and cultures that have used cold-pressed Mustard Oil as a cooking medium, cooking ingredient and flavour enhancer for hundreds of years. In today’s post we head up into the picturesque Himalayan foothills where early humans started cultivating mustard five thousand years ago.

We are headed for Kumaon, an ancient Himalayan kingdom, now in the state of Uttarakhand. This is a region that really knows how to use Mustard Oil as a flavouring agent instead of using it merely to cook the food – and the dish we will be making today demonstrates this aspect admirably.

Today’s recipe is called Aloo Ke Gutke, a quick and simple preparation of potatoes in Mustard Oil with just a handful of everyday spices. In the Kumaoni dialect (and also in various Pahadi languages), “Gutke” means pieces. Hence, the name means a dish that is made with pieces of potatoes (Aloo).

Here are the ingredients that you will require.


  1. Potatoes (Aloo): 3

  2. Mustard Oil: 2 tablespoons

  3. Dry Red Chillies: 2

  4. Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: Half a teaspoon

  5. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 1 tablespoon

  6. Coriander (Dhania) Powder: Just a pinch

  7. Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Just a pinch

  8. Red Chilli Powder: Just a pinch

  9. Asafoetida (Heeng): Just a pinch

  10. Salt: to taste

The quantities mentioned above are for two servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.


Put the potatoes in a pressure cooker and add enough water to immerse the potatoes. Add a teaspoon of salt and then close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for five whistles and then turn the flame off. Allow the pressure to release slowly. Then open the pressure cooker, peel the potatoes, and cut them into cubes. Keep aside.

Coarsely chop the coriander leaves.


Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder to a small mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and mix well.

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. Once the oil reaches its smoking point, streams of white smoke will gently rise from the surface of the hot oil. Reduce the flame to Medium.

To the hot oil, add the dry red chillies, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Sauté for a few seconds. When the red chillies and cumin seeds begin to splutter and crackle, add the coriander-turmeric-red chilli powder mixture that you had made earlier. Continue to sauté for another 30 seconds or so. Add salt to taste. (When you add salt here, do remember that you have already added salt to the boiled potatoes. Adjust the salt accordingly.)

After another 30 seconds, add the potato pieces and stir well to ensure that all the potato pieces are well-coated in the spices. Then reduce the flame to Low and cook for around four minutes. Then turn the flame off.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a serving dish and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Your traditional Kumaoni Aloo Ke Gutke is now ready. This is a delicious side dish that can be relished with any meal. It can also be eaten with Roti or Chapatti.

You can find more recipes at :

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