Tuesday, October 27, 2009

til wale alu | potato curry in sesame gravy | for fasting or feasting..

til wale alu recipe

Til wale alu or sesame and potatoes curry is one of my few favorites with potatoes. This is a Nepali recipe I had heard about a lot. First during my research days, my guide Dr. Maya Goyle used to tell me about this as one of her aunts was a Nepali lady and used to make it for them. But I had never tried this recipe till I got married (almost 12 years back). 

I had a book called Curries Curries and Curries by Ranjit Rai, this book helped me with many non vegetarian recipes later when I started eating non veg food after my daughter was born. Interestingly, this is the only vegetarian recipe I tried from this book and it was an instant hit with my in laws family too.

I am posting this recipe on this blog because for me it has a strong Banaras connection. I heard about it in Banaras, learnt cooking it in Banaras and started making it while I was there, and many a times it was a fasting recipe for Navaratri and I used to make it with ghee and sendha namak........

Sesame seeds are so good for health and are a good source of omega 3s and calcium too, I got hooked with this recipe and have made it for large gatherings too The reason is, it is very simple to execute, everybody loves it and the leftovers are yummy. It stays good in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Please don't freeze it.

The most important thing is, it makes a good filling for grilled sandwiches and with pita bread it tastes heavenly, you can just go on and on with this .....

I read about this dish that it is supposed to be warming and gives energy for longer period. One of those low GI foods, and it is sold as a mountaineer's and trekker's food at the small stalls in those areas of Nepal.

potatoes boiled with skin, peeled and cubed 1 kg
sesame seeds roasted lightly 200 gm
green chilies chopped finely.. 7-8 or more
green coriander leaves with stems chopped finely 3/4 cup (I chop the stems and leaves separately and blend most of the stem part but not required as per the recipe)
lemon juice 1-2 tbsp
turmeric powder 2 tsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp (not used in the original recipe)
garlic freshly crushed...6-7 small cloves
mustard oil 1 tbsp or a bit more (ghee if making for fasting)
salt to taste (sendha namak if making for fasting)


Make a fine powder of the roasted sesame seeds and make a paste with water and salt to taste, reserve a tbsp of whole roasted sesame seeds for garnish if you wish..

Crush or blend the stems of  coriander leaves with garlic and mix with turmeric powder and keep aside. I add the stems early in the process as they have more flavor and less color and the flavors absorb well into the resulting sauce.....

Heat oil (or ghee if fasting only...the mustard oil gives good flavor to it) in a deep kadhai and throw in the cumin seeds n let them splutter, now put in the garlic-coriander stem-turmeric mixture and stir for 30 seconds.

Now dunk in the cubed potatoes and fry them on medium heat till they are just glazed but not browned, add salt to taste and then the paste of sesame seeds. Stir for 2 minutes and put off the flame.

Be careful to not boil  the curry, add lemon juice and the chopped leaves of coriander, mix well and let it rest for a while before serving.....
til wale alu recipe

Can be warmed before serving but try not heating it thoroughly, tastes good even cold.....

Enjoy whichever way you want...


  1. Aloo looks so creamy. Love to have it with chapathi.

  2. Sangeetha...........creamy and yummy curry dear.

  3. Potato and sesame, nice combo. Looks yummy and delicious.

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  5. Dear Sangeeta
    This recipe is so unique...and the detailed descriptions ...great tips like the grinding of coriander stem and garlic...
    So I will start with the potatoes, ( God willing and wife permitting the potato)and progressively replace potato with fish, lamb meat and finally that stupid chicken, in subsequent venture,

  6. Thankyou Dear Ushnish...
    yes , it's a very flavorful simple gravy and tastes good with paneer and boiled shredded chicken( makes a very good grilled sandwitch with that) , i havn't tried it with fish but i have been thinking of making a steamed paturi with this paste....with slit green chillies...mmm.

  7. My hubby loves aloo preparations, so now I got an unusual recipe, I love til in cooking ...am the procedure seems an intersting one, shall make it some time dear.
    keep ur posts and recipes coming ...I love to read ur write ups :)

  8. It's very unusual for me I never tried sesamme gravy before but I really like to experiment with new things rather than stick to same ghisa pita gravy...thumbs -up to sesamme gravy . I am gonna try this recipe for sure.

  9. Sesame seeds are too much for also gravy

  10. You have mentioned Garlic in this recipe, and your title says it's for fasting..!