Aloo til tinka (pink fir apple potato with toasted sesame)

Serves 4 Starters and mains

GH9 A4416 Aloo Til Tinka



  • 2tbsp sesame seeds
  • 750g pink fir apple potatoes or a similar variety such as Charlotte
  • 3tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green chillies, split in quarters lengthways
  • 7.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 15-20 curry leaves, shredded
  • 1⁄4tsp ground asafoetida
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 1tbsp chopped coriander leaves


To toast the sesame seeds in the oven, preheat the oven to 140C/120C F/Gas 1. Put the sesame seeds in a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes, then switch off the oven. Leave the tray inside for a further 10 minutes, making sure the seeds don’t burn and stirring them around regularly. Alternatively, toast in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, stirring until just golden, then tip out of the pan immediately to prevent burning.

Cut the potatoes into small dice.

Heat the oil in a large pan. When a haze forms but it is not smoking, add the cumin seeds and stir briefly, then add the chillies, ginger, curry leaves and asafoetida. Stir for a few seconds until the crackling stops, then add the onions and sauté for around 3 minutes until lightly golden.

Add the potatoes and continue to sauté until the potatoes are evenly coated in the mixture. Season with salt and add enough water to half-cover the potatoes (do not add too much, as you want them to be moist but not wet after cooking). Bring to the boil, cover tightly with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes until nearly cooked. Gently stir from time to time to rotate the potatoes to ensure they are cooked evenly.

Remove the lid, add the chopped tomatoes, if using, and continue to cook in the open pan until the potatoes are tender and bathed in just a little thickened liquid. Add the toasted sesame seeds and mix well. Check the seasoning and stir in the coriander to serve.

Recipes and photographs taken from Mr Todiwala's Bombay by Cyrus Todiwala. Photography by Helen Cathcart (Hardie Grant, £24).
GH9 A4416 Aloo Til Tinka
Recipes and photographs taken from Mr Todiwala's Bombay by Cyrus Todiwala. Photography by Helen Cathcart (Hardie Grant, £24).


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