Aloo Upma Curry

Aloo Upma Kura | Andhra Potato Curry

Introduction To Potato – The Vegetable:

The word “potato” comes from the Spanish word “patata”. Potato is a starchy vegetable, a tuber of the plant Solanum Tuberosum, a perennial plant of the nightshade family. Potatoes are a universal favourite all over the world. They are frequently served whole, pieces or mashed as a cooked vegetable and are also ground into potato flour, used in baking or as a thickener for sauces. They are used to prepare a variety of dishes like patties for burgers, French fries, hashbrowns, crisps/ chips,  potato wedges etc. Potatoes, in order to be a healthy option, should either be baked or steamed. Any other way of cooking potatoes makes them lose their nutritional value.

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Origin and History of Potato:

It is believed that the potato originated in the region of modern-day Southern Peru and was domesticated in Northwestern Bolivia by pre-Columbian farmers, around Lake Titicaca. It has since spread around the world and become a staple crop in many countries. They were largely cultivated in South America by the Incas as early as 1800 years ago. Encountered by the invading Spaniards, potatoes were introduced into Europe during the second half of the 16th century. By the end of the 17th century, the plant was a major crop in Ireland, and by the end of the 18th century, it was a major crop in continental Europe, particularly Germany, and in the west of England. It continued to spread, in both the Western and Eastern hemispheres, during the first four decades of the 19th century. [Potato | Definition, Plant, Origin, & Facts Encyclopedia Britannica]

Image By Zeya Irish From Pixabay

Potato In India:

Potato was introduced in India by the Portuguese sailors and they called it ‘Batata’  during the early 17th century (and this term is still used in Maharashtra and Gujarat for potato). Its cultivation was spread to North India by the British. In my quest to learn more about its origin in India, I came across this very interesting write-up by Diya Kohli (managing editor at Conde Nast Traveller India, ‘How the potato came to India and conquered our lives’. I will share the link below, so that my readers may enjoy the article as much as I did. Potato is now one of the main commercial crops grown in the country. It is largely used in all three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner in almost all parts of India, making it the most popular vegetable in Indian cuisine.

Aloo upma kura
Image By SarangiB from Pixabay

In India, we use it to prepare curries, pulao, snacks and stir fry. Aloo chat, aloo tikki, aloo chips, aloo fry, aloo parantha, aloo dum, the list is endless. It is the most versatile vegetable as it can be used on its own to prepare a variety of dishes such as aloo fry, aloo upma curry, aloo dum etc. and can be combined with almost every other vegetable to prepare endless combinations as well. Aloo mutter, aloo gobhi, aloo palak, aloo methi, aloo capsicum, and aloo baingan, are to name just a few.

Nutritional Facts About Potatoes :

Potatoes are high in starch and have developed a bad reputation due to the popularity of low-carb diets. However, carbohydrates are not bad for your health as long as you watch your portions. In fact, they are an essential source of energy. Potatoes are more energy-packed than any other popular vegetable. Potatoes are also fat-free, gluten-free, plant-based and a quality carbohydrate. With potatoes you get the energy, potassium (more than a banana!) and vitamin C you need, to fuel you. The majority of a potato’s valuable potassium and vitamin C is found in the flesh, not just the skin, as is popularly believed. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6, nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol free. Potatoes cooked in the right manner and consumed in the right portion, regulate blood pressure, support the immune system, repair oxidative damage and prevent chronic diseases. However, green potatoes and sprouts that grow from potatoes are toxic and should not be consumed.

The Curry – Aloo Upma Kura:

Aloo Upma Kura is an Andhra-style potato curry made by using ‘upma popu’, which means tempering ingredients which are used for making upma. Hence the name, aloo upma kura, aloo meaning potato, upma is an Andhra dish made of semolina, and kura is the Telugu word for curry. Aloo upma kura is made by boiling the potatoes first and then tempering them with the required seasonings.

In Andhra, a variation of aloo/potato curry is a recipe named aloo upma curry. It can be made dry as well as in gravy form, by simply boiling the potatoes and then combining them with salt and tempering ingredients. An important point to note here is that for this curry it is best to break the potato with hand by slightly mashing it into uneven pieces rather than dicing with a knife. This texture gives a better taste as it allows blending with spices easier. It is called upma curry because the same tempering used for preparing upma is used for this curry. As the name suggests, obviously, the upma popu/tempering is the basis of this curry. This curry can be had with rice, roti/chapathi, puri and also with dosa. It is a very simple and traditional Andhra curry made with fresh ginger and green chillies.

My Recipe, My Story:

Aloo Upma kura is often made as a curry for chapathis for dinner in our home. We also prepare this for sure to carry along with puris and curd rice on our overnight journeys by train. It is almost a custom. I love to have it with curd rice, one of my favourite comfort food. The combination is simply divine. I am sharing here, a version that includes onions and tomatoes. But this being a traditional recipe, can be made on festive days without the onions.

aloo upma kura

Aloo Upma Kura – Recipe

Aloo Upma Kura Ingredients:

  • Potatoes – 2-3 large-sized (boiled, peeled and mashed into uneven pieces)
  • Onions – 1 medium-sized (chopped)
  • Tomatoes – 1 medium-sized (chopped)
  • Ginger – 1 inch grated/finely chopped (as per your preference)
  • Green chillies – 1 (chopped)
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Red chilli powder – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad daal – 1 tsp
  • Chana daal – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 7-8
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves – for garnishing

How To Prepare Aloo Upma Kura:

  • Step 1 – Pressure cook the potatoes along with their skin for 2 whistles. Once they have cooled down completely, peel the skin and mash the potatoes into uneven pieces.
aloo upma kura

  • Step 2 – Keep all the other ingredients ready.
tempering ingredients
  • Step 3 – Heat oil in a pan/kadhai, keep the flame in sim, add chana daal, urad daal and mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  • Step 4 – Add in the curry leaves, ginger and green chillies and fry for just 2 seconds.
  • Step 5 – If you are wanting to add the onions and tomatoes add them now. ( If not, skip steps 4 & 5 and proceed to step 6). First, add the chopped onions and fry them until they turn light brown in colour.
Aloo upma kura
  • Step 6 – Next add the chopped turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and chopped tomatoes and allow them to cook until the tomatoes are completely soft.
aloo upma kura
  • Step 7 – Now add in the mashed potatoes and mix everything until well combined.
aloo upma kura
  • Step 8 – If you want it in gravy form, add some water and let the curry cook for about 2 minutes in the water. Allow the gravy to thicken.
aloo upma kura
  • Step 9 – Once the curry is properly combined, switch off the flame. Add chopped coriander leaves and the curry is ready to be served.
aloo upma kura


Aloo Upma curry can be had with roti/chapathi, puri, or even rice. This curry, without adding tomatoes, and tempering, can be used as a stuffing for masala dosa as well.

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