Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alu Kabli -- the Bongo Potato Salad


"Go, watch a movie", my Mother prods. She does this every time she is here. Religiously, during the course of her six months of stay, she asks me to go out to a movie theater. To a multiplex, with digital screens, buckets of popcorn, large glasses of coke, the whole zing-bang. She says it the same way she asks me to take my vitamins, calcium , drink milk, exercise, kapalbhaati, breath in-out.

If she had put so much effort early on in my life, I could have watched QSQT, Maine Pyaar Kiya, Roja, Bazigar, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar, all first day , first show. But that never happened.


Even now there are constraints. She doesn't want me to go and watch any movie by myself, my friends or even with her.The movie has to be watched along with my legally wedded husband, the D, only. That is the rule she lays down. Watching movie at the theaters with one's spouse, is the litmus test by which she checks all izz well between me and the guy.

Can't blame her. There is little else to rest one's faith on when all you see the couple arguing over is, "You get the Milk from Costco, I will pick up Bitter Gourd from Patel", "I did all the pickups and drop off last week when you were traveling, this week you better pick BS up from karate"

I take up my Mother's proposal with much hope, excitement even. Three hours away from clinging kids in a dimmed room with Shahrukh Khan/Farhan Akhtar/Tom Cruise and a glass of chilled coke doesn't sound too bad. If things go okay, we can hold hands even (without arguing). The husband however is not much enthused. He would rather watch "how they make shiny steely razors" instead on SCI, stretched out on the couch and eat Haldiram's Nav Ratan Bhujia.


Also the movies I want to watch is not the ones he would be caught seeing, even in a dark theater. At least not anymore.Sickly mushy romantic movies with a touch of humor are my genre. He likes the rock, car chases, hooded men and anything animated. Even if we agree on the animated we cannot white-lie a eight year old and say "We have to pick up groceries" when all we are doing is going to watch Tintin in 3D.

With every movie that we finally do not watch and argue instead, my Ma wants to dial Ajmeri Baba on hot-line.


Finally we do. Not call Ajmeri Baba. Watch a movie. At the theater. With a large glass of coke half filled with ice and toasted nachos. The nachos are terrible and I really wish there was something better. Alu-Kabli would have been perfect. Tangy with a tamarind chutney, salty with sprinkles of pink salt, hot with the tiny pieces of green chlili. It would have perfectly matched the excitement of Ethan Hunt rappelling down the Burj.

Next time maybe. A year later. And then maybe we can also hold hands.


Alu Kabli is the easiest thing that you can make in your lifetime. All you have to do in the cooking department is cook potatoes or rather boil them. You can do that step in the MW, stove top or the Pressure Cooker. Baas, you are done. To make life easy use a can of chickpeas which you drain, rinse and then just eat. If you do not have access to canned ones, you need to soak chickpeas overnight and then cook till they are soft and edible.

When I had asked in FB months ago, Eve's Lungs had this about Alu Kabli-- "tiny cubed pots, soaked red chana, onions chopped small,motor boiled ,cucumber - small diced , dhania patta , loads of imli , bhaja moshla,kalo noon and yummo"
Tanushree said -- "plus u have to have kacha lanka and chine badam..................must. "

Mine does not have cucumber, coriander leaves or roasted peanuts. If you want add them to yours.


Alu Kabli

Boil 2 medium potatoes in their jacket.Peel and then cube. Soak chickpeas overnight and cook them till soft. OR buy a can of chickpeas, drain, rinse well and use.

Chop half of a large onion in small pieces. Chop about 6 small green chili in thin rounds.

Dry roast 1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds till they roast to a nice smell. Dry roast or char by holding directly on fire two Dry red Chili. Okay, only one for the faint hearted. Dry grind the cumin seeds and red chili together to make a fine powder called Bhaja Masla.

In a bowl add 2 tbsp of Tamarind Chutney, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp of Bhaja Masla, a little salt to taste and 2 of the finely chopped green chili. Mix well.Note: I used Deep Brand Tamarind Chutney, you can also make your own

In another bowl assemble the potatoes and a cup of boiled chickpeas.Sprinkle rest of the bhaja masla, some pink salt according to taste, the chopped green chili and the chopped onion. Squeeze a little of lime juice, maybe a teaspoonful. Toss together and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Now dole out a serving in a bowl. Drizzle the tamarind water you made. Garnish with some more chili and onion. Sprinkle with some hot sev if you wish. Eat immediately.


  1. SIMPLY AWESOME to read this post, a sheer delight.. (Miss my own mom so much when I read about how you're being asked to go watch movies with the other half!!) a double treat, when apired with the divine Alu Kabli!

  2. Super tempting salad, makes me drool..

  3. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh you din't hold hands :-((((
    Hi hi i love that for your mom everything is ok if you both go and watch movies together :-)

  4. hi I am new to your blog.. but I have just become a fan of your recipes.. at least I get some inspiration to try your recipes.. and thank u for posting alu kabli... muhjhe chokhe jol chole alo..thnk u :)

  5. Happy New Year Sandeepa!! As usual you wrap up your tasty recipe in an equally tasty read :)

    I love the leaf bowls too!

  6. So sweet! bong moms r same everywhere! I think the husbands too! regarding the alu kabli part - what about using the packed tamarind pulp - there one can manipulate the jhal tok etc. according to one's palate, instead of chutney! what do u think?

  7. I went to movie to watch Cars for the first time after many many years! Gosh I couldn't cling on my seat for such a long time. We prefer home theater, walking, pausing, snacking at leisure is different... Mom is adorable, she is the lone soul thinking we are still kid :)
    Fire roasting the chili will create fume right? Gosh, my son will runaway :)
    I love that roasting pict...

  8. you're such a rockstar! love your posts Sandeepa. particularly loved this one to bits. me and my husband have the same movie issues..he likes everything that begins with a fight and ends with a car chase! alu kabli looks divine. :)

  9. Hi,
    FUNtastic writing..

    only proves that God used the same mould for mothers, husbands...all over the world!
    even the dialogues are the same!!


  10. That is so sweet of your mom. She is here now? You did not watch MI4 or was it 3?

    Nachos in the theater, they are awful yes. I am so going to make this and watch a movie but at home.

  11. Oh Sandeepa...your posts always leave a broad smile on my face...and this post is no exception. I could so relate to your situation. My dad does the same...every small fight we have over trivial issues gets on my dad's nerves and u shud see his face afterwards:/. Fortunately both me and my husband love to watch all kind of films but the problem is he hates SRK :(. He won't watch SRK films so I have to watch it on my own. I take my white brit friend along and she can actually understand hindi now :D. And no we don't hold hands either :( Loved the recipe...alu kabli is my all time favourite!


  12. My mouth is watering....this is sooo tempting!! Your mum's litmus test is so cute :) Btw, I have read every post of yours and haven't commented on any for a long time now...

  13. I ought to dry it for date-evenings with TH. Perfect no fuss cocktail munch!

  14. Life is pretty simple for your Mom :-) Holding hands makes it look rosy? :-)Whenever I make phuckas I take out 2-3 potatoes from the batch to make aloo kabli. Darun...

  15. Niv
    Thanks. If you lived nearby, My Mom would make sure you go to the movies too.



    Welcome and hope you like it around here


    Thanks and a very Happy new Year to you too. Sadly I have only one of those now :(


    Yes, the tamarind pulp will make a very nice chutney, that is how it is done by actual people. I always take shortcuts :)


    Aaaah, i like the theaters better but only for certain movies.
    There were fumes but with the vent fan on high, it was ok.

    Ahhh men, what can i say :)

  16. Dayeeta



    I did no, Mi4 it was.

    Cassia bark

    Ok, I am not liking SRK any more either. Do not want to watch any of his latest movies. Loved him in all KJo movies :)


    Happy new Year to you. So you were hanging around and never talked ? No fair, okay.


    Here I am struggling to watch a movie and there you are making me J throwing words like "date-nite" and "cocktail". Sheessh girl.

    Hamaree rasoi
    What can I say :) Ahhh yes, phuchka and then churmur too, right ?

  17. Hi Sandeepa,

    Feels wonderful to know that your Mom is around to ring the bell and tell you to go go go... for the movie evenings.

    As usual, a wonderful fresh blog from you. May you be writing many such wonderful blogs this new year and make our weeks brighter.

    Happy New Year once more ...


  18. Wish I could taste this right now,..:) and yeah even I don't feel like eating anything while watching movie here,just like you I crave for something like this,..:)

  19. When you are buying Indian groceries please be careful about Bansi Basmati Rice and Deep Food items. Please look at this …specially no. 5

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  20. When she didn't know better, my mom would ask what about the spouse when i was going away with my girl friends on holiday, and i would say how can he come, we're all girls - now it's been ages since i went anywhere, with girls, spouse or anyone! oh, but actually i just did, with a bunch of strangers and had a whale of a time!

  21. Love this recipe - what an explosion of flavours in a small bowl!

    hubby and I love watching movies and make sure to catch one every two months atleast - but the handholding....well, lets just say we hold on to the popcorn tighter! :)

  22. Now if only I could get this one while watching my next movie...

  23. this just made me laugh out loud! your mom's rule seems to be a sound one - couples who cinema together, stay together :) love the alu kabli - reminded me of the alu kabliwala in front of my school in calcutta.

  24. Good pictures and good explanation....

  25. This is the first blog I am ever commenting on! You write so zestfully... absolutely transferring everything u think (and the way u think is so less amazing, taking us thru a rollercoaster journey along with roasting the dry chilli ! God bless...

  26. How did I miss this post! I am sitting in a puddle of drool. Now you make me miss India. I am coming to NJ. :-(

  27. Mmm, that looks so good! I've never tried anything like it before, but it looks like I'll have to try it out tomorrow, and see how my husband likes it! I just stumbled upon this post, but I'm always looking for a new healthy cooking blog to follow, so you will probably see me again!
    (P.S. I with my mom would force me to go to the movies!)

  28. love the way you take the pics... awesome sense of Photography... which cam do you use btw ??

  29. I just tried this and it came out delicious! I took out the seeds from the dry red chilly as it was too spicy otherwise and added bhujiya and crushed peanuts at the end. For the tamarind chutney, I mixed 'tetuler achaar' with some water. Yummy, I almost feel like I am back home!

  30. To add a little more tang I use ginger paste. Just a bit. Learnt it from our alu kabliwala.


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