The flavors of Indian food captivate in a unique, deeply satisfying way that will bring enchantment to your kitchen. With warm curry spices, creamy potatoes, and chickpeas, this easy vegan Potato Curry is a one-pot dinner wonder that, for Ben especially, is closely attached to a favorite memory.
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Potato Curry: A Delicious Indian Recipe
Ben spent six months in India during college, and when he found out he’d be living with a vegetarian host family…he panicked. NO MEAT?
Then he tried Indian cooking.
Thanks to the aromatic flavors, richly simmered sauces, and hearty ingredients, to this day he still insists that, if the menu is Indian food, he could go years without craving meat again.
I also spent a summer traveling in India, I have to say—and this is no light statement for a partner to make— my husband was 100% right!
This easy Indian recipe is based on a potato curry that Ben remembers his Indian host family making.
But nostalgia alone cannot guarantee a clean plate at the end of the meal. Thankfully this vegan potato curry has so many additional reasons to love it!
Why You’ll Love Potato Curry
An abundance of nutritious vegetables, chickpeas, and spices adds up to incredible flavor, without relying on less healthy fats and oils.
This potato curry with coconut milk is ideal even if you’re not vegetarian.
- It’s a fully satisfying meatless main. Chickpeas add protein, and the vegetables round it out.
- It cooks all in one pot. Chopping the veggies is the only prep you need. Yes pleasey to keepin’ it easy.
- It’s nutritious. The potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and manganese (just like in Jamaican Chicken Curry).
- It’s budget-friendly. Thanks to nutritious potatoes and chickpeas being the pillars of this delectable dish, it’s also very friendly on the wallet.
No one could disapprove of simple, affordable, and satisfying.
Secrets to the Best Curry
It’s important to point out that this spicy potato curry is not “spicy” in the hot, my-lips-are-on-fire meaning.
Instead, it is “spicy” in the rich, warm, aromatic sense.
Just like in your favorite takeout curry, certain spices are key to making your curry taste like curry, and can be found in almost any grocery store:
- Curry Powder. Curry powder is a blend of lots of spices – usually turmeric, chili powder, ground coriander, cumin, peppercorn, and ginger. Curry powder is an efficient way to add a whole bunch of subtle but important flavors with maximum impact. Also, you can often buy it in mild, medium, or hot strengths.
- Garam Masala. Like curry powder, garam masala is a blend of spices, though with slightly stronger aromas. It usually has ground cloves, cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg. It’s also an effective way to heighten the flavor of a dish during and at the end of cooking.
Neither of these spices is an expensive investment. Plus, with these on hand in your spice cabinet, you’ll be ready to make a plethora of healthy, zesty Indian-influenced dishes.
Which Potatoes are the Best for Curry
For curry, it’s best to use a potato that falls into the waxy category, which helps keep the potato’s shape in dishes that have a more liquid base (like curries, soups, and stews). Otherwise, if a potato is more mealy than waxy, it may become too grainy or mushy when cooking.
- Yukon Gold. I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes when cooking curries, because they have a slight buttery flavor and creamy texture thanks to their medium starch content.
- Red Potatoes. They don’t need to be peeled before cooking and hold their shape well when cooked.
- Russet. Russet potatoes tend to break down more in curries. If you prefer to use russet potatoes, add them later in the cooking process than this recipe directs.
How to Make Potato Curry
This recipe is positively influenced by the alluring warm and fragrant flavors that pervaded Ben’s and my travels in India, and that we often try to recreate at home.
Even though it’s not 100% authentically Indian (I tweaked the recipe to use ingredients you can find in any grocery store, much like I did in these other must-try Indian delights of Instant Pot Lentil Curry and Chicken Tikka Masala), it’s still authentically delicious.
It’s also not to be confused with Thai potato curry, which tends to rely more on curry paste than curry spices. (But Coconut Curry and Chickpea Curry are my favorites if you’re looking for a Thai-influenced curry.)
If you’re looking for a curry with potatoes and other cultural influence, check out Japanese Curry.
- Potatoes. Tender, nutritious, and a delicious textural element in this meatless dish.
- Spices. Curry powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper come together to make this dish wonderfully aromatic, rich, and deeply flavored.
- Chickpeas. A protein-packed addition that helps make this curry more filling, while keeping it vegan.
- Diced Tomatoes. The tomatoes and their juices play a role in flavoring and thickening the curry sauce.
- Coconut Milk. To keep this recipe on the healthy side, I used a light coconut milk. If you want to make your curry richer, you can use full-fat coconut milk. For the lightest option of all, I also tested this using chicken broth instead of coconut milk and still very much enjoyed it.
- Sugar. An optional addition, but I find a pinch helps balance all the flavors in the curry.
- Lemon Juice. A touch of brightness and acidity.
- Peas. For ease, we’re using frozen peas that can be stirred directly into the curry at the end.
Worried Your Curry is Watery?
- In general, Indian curries can seem watery because the loose sauce is intended to saturate rice.
- If you would like to make your curry thicker, use full-fat coconut milk as mentioned above.
- To further reduce the liquid in a curry, let it simmer for longer over low heat.
- Sauté the onion.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Stir in the spices.
- Stir in the potatoes.
- Add the chickpeas.
- Add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and peas. Let simmer for 1 more minute.
- Serve with cilantro and your desired sides. DIG IN!
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover curry in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- I would not recommend freezing this potato curry, as the potatoes can become mealy once thawed.
What to Serve with Potato Curry
- Rice. A bed of rice is just what this potato curry (and Shrimp Curry) needs. Use your favorite variety, or give this tasty Lemon Rice a try.
- Naan. A piece of this scrumptious Indian-style flatbread will sop up all the delicious flavors. Try my simple and tasty Homemade Naan recipe.
- Salad. For a light and fresh side, try pairing this recipe with Arugula Salad.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Dutch Oven. Whether you’re making curries, soups, or casseroles, this kitchen tool does it all.
- Citrus Press. The only way I’ll juice a lemon now.
- Measuring Spoons. For recipes with lots of spices, these are essential.
Enchanting flavors, minimal dishes, and a hearty, healthy meal that’s ready in 35 minutes or less: Potato curry is my kind of magic!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic about 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper plus additional to taste
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes peeled and ¾-inch diced (about 4 potatoes)
- 1 14-ounce can reduced sodium chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk*
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar optional; I find it better balances the flavor, though you can wait to add it if you prefer
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup frozen peas no need to thaw
- Chopped fresh cilantro for serving
- Prepared brown rice cauliflower rice, or naan, for serving
- In a Dutch oven or similar large pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering but not smoking. Once it is hot, add the onion and cook for 4 minutes, until beginning to soften and turn translucent. Reduce the heat as needed so the onion doesn’t turn brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the curry powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, salt, and cayenne. Stir and cook until the spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the potatoes. Stir to coat with the spices.
- Stir in the chickpeas, coating them with the spices.
- Stir in the tomatoes and coconut milk. Increase the heat to medium high. Once the liquid starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer steadily but gently for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Stir every few minutes to prevent the curry from sticking.
- Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Then, stir in the peas. Let simmer 1 minute to warm through.
- Sprinkle generously with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with prepared rice or naan and an extra sprinkle of cilantro.
- *You can also make this curry with a 14-ounce can of chicken or vegetable broth; it won’t be as creamy but will still have nice flavor.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover curry in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- I would not recommend freezing this potato curry, as the potatoes can become mealy once thawed.
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