Aloo Sahjan: Potato Drumstick Curry

24 Aug

Aloo Sahjan ki Sabzi

A Bihar-style potato drumstick curry (aloo sahjan), in which the fiery flavors of mustard and garlic giving company to drumstick.

Drumstick is not as well-recognized a vegetable as its counterpart in this recipe, so here’s an intro first. The name "drumstick" is a hat-tip to the vegetable’s cylindrical shape and stick-like firmness. Drumstick goes by the name moringa in other parts of the world (mentions of which haven been popping up in lists of trendy superfoods ahead of kale). Our superfood looks like the green bean’s big brother: about a foot long, with vertical ridges and bumps on the surface.

Drumstick - Sahjan

Tip: For cooking curries, pick drumstick with less pronounced bumps – these are younger and have softer seeds.

Drumstick a polarizing vegetable as far as I can gauge from reactions around me – some love it, others hate it. I am firmly in the drumstick-lover camp and, if you are trying this vegetable for the first time, wish to find you on my side too.

I must warn you though: eating drumstick curry will not show you off at your most elegant. The right way to eat curry-soaked drumstick is to pick it out of the curry, chew its insides and chuck the remains. This curry is most comfortably eaten with close family and friends, not at a formal party.

You Need:

  • Potatoes – 2
  • Drumstick (sahjan)* – 2
  • Lime juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Green chilies – 2 (more if you want it hotter)
  • Garlic – 15 small cloves
  • Mustard seeds – 2 heaped teaspoons
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Mustard oil – 1/2 tablespoon

Aloo Sahjan Ingredients

How To Make Aloo Sahjan:

1. Make mustard-garlic paste

In a grinder, put mustard seeds, garlic and green chilies.

Mustard Seeds, Garlic, Green Chili in Grinder

Grind to paste.

Mustard Seed, Garlic, Green Chili Paste

While grinding, you may need to add a few teaspoons of water to help bind the paste – try to use as little water as you can manage with.

2. Prep the vegetables

Peel and slice the potatoes into wedges. Place them in water till the time comes to cook them – this helps prevent discoloration.

Scrape the tough skin of the drumsticks, cut into 2-inch pieces.

Potatoes and Drumstick, Cut

Heat 1/4 tablespoon of mustard oil in a non-stick pan. When the oil is hot, spread out the potato wedges and drumstick pieces on the pan.

Sauté on medium heat for 7-8 minutes or till the potatoes are 3/4th done. Keep tossing periodically for even cooking.

Potatoes and Drumstick, Frying

Take the potatoes and drumsticks out of the pan and keep aside.

3. Cook it all together

Heat mustard oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, set heat to low and add asafoetida powder and the mustard-garlic paste.

Stir the paste around and cook till the garlic takes on a toasted smell.

Mustard-Garlic Paste, Frying

Add the dry spices: turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder.

Mustard-Garlic Paste with Dry Spices

Mix well. Add a teaspoon or two of water if you notice any charring happening.

Continue to cook for another five minutes, stirring regularly.

Add 3/4th cup of water to the pan with cooked spices, along with salt. Set heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then add the sauteed potatoes and drumsticks to the curry.

Aloo Sahjan, Cooking

Cover the pan and simmer the vegetables in the curry on low heat.

Potato Drumstick Curry, Cooking Covered

Cook covered for 5-6 minutes or till the vegetables are fully done. Turn off the heat. Stir in a tablespoon of lime juice. Let the pan stand covered for another 5-10 minutes – this helps the curry thicken and the vegetables absorb the mustard-garlic flavors.

Aloo sahjan (potato drumstick curry) is ready to eat.

Aloo Sahjan - Potato Drumstick Curry

Serve with chapatis or plain rice.

Meal below: kaddu rajma, aloo sahjan, chapatis.

Aloo Sahjan


Like the taste of mustard in curries? You might also enjoy potatoes in mustard sauce.

One Response to “Aloo Sahjan: Potato Drumstick Curry”

  1. S September 13, 2017 at 3:00 AM #

    Hi: drumstick pods and leaves are very popular and common in South India :) They show up in so many dishes, starting from sambar, morekozhambu (=equivalent to kadhi) and going on to lots of others. The term ‘moringa’ comes from the name for this veggie in most South Indian languages.
    It’s not only nutritious, but specifically good for ‘brain power’ too according to grandmas all over the South, said to underlie the stereotype ‘studiousness’ of South Indian kids :)
    Am definitely going to try this recipe when I next get my hands on some moringa pods, and report back when I do.

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