December 15, 2012

Potato Subji (Indian Spiced Potatoes) with Fresh Herb Raita

This is my all-time favorite way to make potatoes! If you are fortunate enough to have access to raw milk, definitely make your own kefir or yogurt for the raita - it will be cheaper, tastier, and full of wonderful probiotics and enzymes, which are essential for good digestion, longevity, and optimal health! Try eating enzyme-rich foods with every meal and you will be ASTOUNDED at how much energy they give you. This is because they are taking much of the burden off your digestive system by helping to digest your food before it even leaves your stomach!

Foods high in enzymes include fermented foods and beverages (the richest source), raw dairy (especially fermented raw dairy products like yogurt and kefir), raw meat, raw honey, raw grapes, figs, and tropical fruits (including avocado, dates, banana, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, and mango), and truly cold-pressed (raw) oils. Keep in mind that these enzymes are destroyed at a wet temperature of 118ºF, or a dry temperature of about 150ºF. Hint: a liquid has reached 118ºF if it's too hot to hold your fingers in!

Raita is an Indian condiment made from yogurt mixed with herbs, spices, and/or vegetables like cucumber or beets. It pairs wonderfully with heavily spiced or spicy foods because it's so cooling. I used kefir when I made this, since I'm totally addicted to it right now, and it turned out great! Kefir is like a thinner, slightly more tart version of yogurt.

Potato Subji with Fresh Herb Raita


Adapted from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. Be very generous with the spices!!!

  • Potatoes, washed and cubed
  • Ghee or duck fat, for sauteing (vegans can use coconut oil)
  • Onion, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • Chicken (optional)
  • 4 parts black mustard seeds
  • 4 parts cumin seeds
  • 2 parts ajwan seeds
  • 1 part turmeric
  • 1 pinch hing (otherwise known as asafoetida), or to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Unrefined sea salt or rock salt, to taste


  • Yogurt or kefir
  • Plenty of chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, chives, green onion, dill, basil, or parsley (I used cilantro and green onion)


  1. If you are using chicken, put it in a small glass baking dish, like this one. Put the lid on the baking dish and bake at 375ºF until no trace of pink remains (cut it open and check).
  2. If you are using onion, caramelize the onion slices in ghee or duck fat (read this post to learn how).
  3. Grind mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and ajwan seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  4. Heat a generous amount of ghee or duck fat in a pot over medium-low heat, and add the spices. There should be enough oil that none of the spices are dry or sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the spices start to smell very fragrant (about 1 minute), dump in the potato cubes and stir them around to coat them with the spices.
  5. Add an inch or two of water to the pot, cover, and turn up the heat to medium. The water and steam will cook the potatoes. Every 5 mins or so, stir the potatoes and poke them with a fork to see whether they're tender. Add more water if needed. When the potatoes are tender, remove the lid, turn up the heat to high, and stir constantly until the rest of the water has evaporated. Add plenty of salt, to taste.
  6. While the potatoes are cooking, make the raita by mixing the yogurt or kefir with plenty of chopped fresh herbs.
  7. Shred the cooked chicken with two forks and toss it with the potatoes, caramelized onions, and extra ghee or duck fat. Serve with the raita for dipping, or dump the raita on top and mix it all together!

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