Recipes

Aloo Bhorta (Spiced Potato Mash)

Mustard oil, chiles, onions, and cilantro enliven the blank canvas of soft potatoes in this Bangladeshi favorite.

  • Serves

    4

  • Cook

    20 minutes

PHOTO: HAARALA HAMILTON • FOOD STYLING: VALERIE BERRY • PROP STYLING: RACHEL VERE

By Dina Begum


Updated on January 30, 2024

This recipe is brought to you by the SAVEUR Cookbook Club, our passionate community of food-loving readers from around the globe celebrating our favorite authors and recipes. Join us as we cook through a new book every month, and share your food pics and vids on social media with the hashtags #SAVEURCookbookClub and #EatTheWorld.

In her new cookbook Made in Bangladesh, Dina Begum calls bhorta “the quintessential soul food of Bangladeshi cuisine.” The canon of bhortas is vast, and includes hundreds of varieties enjoyed everywhere from rural dinner tables to the country’s finest restaurants. This recipe for potato (aloo) bhorta, adapted from Begum’s book, is one of the most familiar and tastiest versions, mashing boiled potatoes with smoked fried chiles, sauteed onions, and pungent mustard oil. It can be served on its own with rice (a carb-on-carb delight) or as part of a larger bhorta-focused feast.

A note on ingredients: The chiles used in bhortas are typically dried red Indian chiles, fresh green chiles (sometimes called Thai or finger chiles), or a combination of the two. Use gloves to protect your hands when mixing chiles into bhortas. Mustard oil is an important element of many Bangladeshi and Indian recipes, and can be found online. (If unavailable, Begum recommends combining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon English mustard.)

Excerpted with permission from Made in Bangladesh by Dina Begum, published by ‎Hardie Grant Publishing, November 2023.

Ingredients

  • 2–3 medium potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 dried red Indian chiles, such as Kashmiri
  • ½ tsp. fine salt
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard oil (see headnote), plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves

Instructions

Step 1

In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until easily pierced with a fork, about 8–10 minutes. In a colander, drain the potatoes and briefly run them under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside until cool.

Step 2

Place a medium bowl next to the stove. To a medium skillet set over medium–high heat, add the vegetable oil; when it’s hot and shimmering, add the dried chiles and fry until almost blackened, 2–3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chiles to the bowl. When cool, use either your fingers or a mortar and pestle to crush the fried chiles into small pieces. 

Step 3

Return the skillet to the heat and add the onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Step 4

To the bowl with the potatoes, add the onions and chiles. Use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash the potatoes until thoroughly combined. Stir in the cilantro and mustard oil. Taste, adjusting seasoning as needed. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with a little more mustard oil to serve.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.