Recipes - Vegetarian

Gujarati Aloo Matar (potato and pea curry)

When it comes to learning from by the experts it’s true that our grandmas, or nonnas, are up there with the best professional chefs. At least that’s what I’ve come to appreciate after watching every inspiring episode of ‘Jamie Oliver and The Nonnas‘. In the show he tours Italy in search of some of the most experienced home cooks in the country. The nonnas he meets have 50 years plus experience in the kitchen, and many of them are masterchef style celebrities in their home villages and towns.

What makes their dishes so special is that they’ve often been passed down through generations, they use regional and seasonal produce (often from their own gardens) and in most cases their recipes are their own creations.

With this new found appreciation of our nonnas on a recent visit to the UK I couldn’t wait to spend a long overdue day in the kitchen with Sudha, my mother in law. Sudha, has been cooking Indian Gujarati food (all vegetarian) for almost 50 years, most of them spent in the UK. Her food is mindblowingly good – and beats anything I’ve ever tasted in an Indian restaurant. Even my ‘I can’t imagine a feast without meat’ brother-in-law was happy and started coming round to vegetarianism after trying Sudha’s biryani.

Like the Italian nonnas Sudha’s recipes and techniques are truly her own – no cookbooks, internet searches or TV shows are involved. In fact she doesn’t even have her recipes noted down anywhere – they’re all firmly imprinted in her own mind. That’s why with this post, the first in a series of her Gujarati recipes, I’m keen to preserve in writing some of her cooking magic. Like all of Sudha’s recipes this curry is made with no onion or garlic – but if you so wish you can add them in….

Gujarati Aloo Matar (potato and pea curry)


  • 12 small potatoes
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 200ml chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger crushed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
  • 1.5 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh green chilli
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 2.5 cups warm water


  1. Wash and peel the potatoes, then chop into bitesize pieces.
  2. Rinse the peeled potatoes to remove the starch, then allow to soak covered in water.
  3. Add the oil to a large pan and once hot add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop.
  4. Then add the cumin seeds, fresh ginger and 1/2 tsp of the turmeric.
  5. Drain the potatoes and add to the pan and stir well.
  6. Then add the fresh chilli, salt, black pepper, peas and water.
  7. Cook for one hour on a low heat or until the potatoes are soft.
  8. Add the final spices – 1 tsp each of turmeric, cumin and coriander powder and 2 tsp chilli powder.
  9. Add the chopped tomatoes and puree and stir well.
  10. Cook for another 15 minutes and then serve.

That’s all there is to it – a simple, inexpensive and delicious vegetarian curry. And of course you could switch out the potatoes for sweet potatoes – but before you do check out my post on the nutritional benefits of potatoes.


Gujarati Aloo Matar (potato and pea curry)


14 thoughts on “Gujarati Aloo Matar (potato and pea curry)

  1. I adore this post – it’s so true, the best recipes are passed on through generations and rarely are they actually documented! Oh, and lovely photos! =]

  2. I’ve spent a bit of time at my mother’s kitchen table taking notes. Like your Sudha, my mum has all the recipes in her head. Unfortunately it’s a matter of a bit of this and a pinch of that. She lets her fingers do the talking. I’ve got it all down now which is lovely. Potato and pea curry looks delicious. I’m Looking forward to your sharing more of your Sudha’s recipes with us.

    • Ah thanks Mary – yes I couldn’t agree more that the bit of this and pinch of that approach seems to be the way to go….glad you like the recipe too!

  3. Love it! This post reminds me of a cooking class I took from a lady just like her in India a few years ago. Thanks for sharing Laura, you’re so lucky to be able to taste and learn her food :-). They do look mindblowingly good!

    • How lovely to hear that my post brought back memories of your cooking class – and hopefully you managed to capture the recipes you learnt in writing!

  4. Oh my goodness! What have you been keeping from us! This is fabulous that you have a mother-in-law who cooks this cuisine!!! Hopefully more posts in the future?

    • Ah I know tell me about it Chef Mimi – I so should have been sharing her wonderful recipes earlier – and yes another one to to come for a delicious dal later this week!

  5. A beautiful story about the unsung great cooks in the home. I’m looking forward to cooking according to your version of Sudha’s recipes. My thanks to you both. I came upon your website looking for Carrot top pesto recipes and haven’t started making it yet as I’m being intrigued by your range of vegan recipes.

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