Potatoes in Mustard Sauce

1 May

Potatoes in Mustard Sauce

A traditional recipe from Bihar/Bengal that revels in the heady potency of mustard. If you like the sharpness of mustard and mustard oil, you are in for a treat with sarson wale aloo (potatoes in mustard sauce).

As I made this curry I was reminded of the opening lines of a recent post on Sublime Palate, about influences that alter the nature of traditional recipes. In Bihar, the default cooking oil is mustard oil -  many I know back home find dishes cooked in any other oil tasteless. Diametrically opposite are a some of my non-Bihari friends who will not come within 3 feet of any dish cooked in mustard oil.

I started to cook when I was sharing my apartment with friends from other regions in India, and we came to a common agreement to use peanut oil. That habit stuck, and now I use mustard oil only when I’m cooking an out-and-out east Indian dish such as sarson wale aloo. [Or shall we say, as they would in Bihar sarson wala aloo?]

You Need:

  • Potatoes – 4 medium, boiled
  • Tomatoes – 3
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Mustard seeds* – 2 teaspoons
  • Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic – 5 cloves
  • Mustard oil – 1.5 tablespoons

*Black mustard seeds have a more pungent flavor than yellow mustard seeds. For a milder taste, use small-sized yellow mustard seeds.

How To Make Potatoes in Mustard Sauce:

Skin and slice the potatoes into 1/4 cm disks or crumble them coarsely.

Using the side of your knife, crush garlic. Chop tomatoes.

Dry-grind mustard seeds in the chutney grinder, or pound them into coarse powder using a mortar and pestle.

In a kadhai, heat mustard oil to smoking point.

Add garlic, when it turns golden add ground mustard. Set the heat to low. Let mustard fry and release its aroma – for about 30 seconds to a minute, make sure it does not burn.

Add chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder and red chili powder. Cook covered for 5 minutes on medium heat.

Stir, add chopped potatoes and cook covered on medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add a cup of water (more if you want the sauce thinner), bring to a boil and simmer covered for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let it stand covered for another 15 minutes. Serve potatoes in mustard sauce with rice/rotis and raita.

Aloo Sarson: Potatoes in Mustard Sauce


Try more recipes with mustard oil: red pumpkin mangodi curry, green chili pickle, tomato ginger peanut chutney.

8 Responses to “Potatoes in Mustard Sauce”

  1. Sublime Palate May 4, 2012 at 1:32 PM #

    My parents are home. Which basically means we have lots of traditional Bihari food :) We just had a similar fish curry today. Hope to post about it soon! Your sarso wala aaloo looks so yum!! Gotta ask Mom to make it:)

    • S May 4, 2012 at 8:34 PM #

      Enjoy your parents’ stay. Nothing like having Mom cook for you :)

  2. Vaishnavi July 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM #


    Did you use yellow mustard seeds or the black ones??

    • S August 3, 2013 at 12:47 AM #

      Hi Vaishnavi, I have tried this recipe with yellow and black mustard seeds on different occasions – both were hits! Black mustard seeds have the more pungent taste though. If you’re not so keen on a mustard-y taste, stick with yellow.

  3. Amit June 16, 2014 at 2:10 AM #

    Thanks for the awesome Bihari receipe

    • S July 6, 2014 at 8:46 PM #

      My pleasure!

  4. Mahima October 3, 2015 at 1:05 AM #

    Tried the recipe.. Used black mustard seeds…but my gravy turned out to be bitter…what could have gone wrong?

    • S October 3, 2015 at 6:24 AM #

      Hi Mahima, Black mustard seeds have a more pungent flavor than yellow. If you want it milder, go for the small-sized yellow mustard seeds.

      I will add a note about this to the main post. Thanks for writing.

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