Take a seed potato (we got a Yukon Gold) and cut it into eight pieces. Put it in soil in a cardboard box. Seed potatoes are sold by the pound in nurseries.

DO NOT use seed potatoes for cooking. They have been dusted with nitrogen to grow better. You can also use a regular potato. Keep it in a dark place until it sprouts some ‘eyes’. Then cut it into a few pieces, with one or two ‘eyes’ per piece, and proceed.

Water from time to time. After 10-12 weeks, check if you have potatoes big enough for your liking. If you want baby ones, they’re probably ready. If you want bigger ones, you have to wait some more, until the leaves start wilting.

We put all eight pieces in one box. We should have put them in atleast six boxes.

It was crowded and hindred their growth. One potato got us nearly 3 pounds. Putting them in several boxes would have probably yielded many more. They multiply quickly and need space and water to grow.

Why a cardboard box? ‘Cos then you don’t have to dig the potatoes out of the soil. Put the box in your veggie patch, cut open the sides, and as the soil falls in a heap, you can remove the potatoes easily.

Some people use rubber car tyres. Put soil and seed potato in one tyre. As it grows, keep adding soil and tyre upon tyre. When the potatoes are ready, remove the tyres one by one and let the soil spread around. Then remove the potatoes.

“I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.” – Nora Ephron



I have had some fantastic (watery) potato bhaji at Balarshah railway station in Maharashtra (India) once – while traveling from Delhi to Chennai. This was an attempt to recreate that. Our “Donnai” is made with a leaf from our Brussel Sprout plant and a couple of toothpicks. The leaf has a waxy exterior and was easy to wash and clean. A Donnai is traditionally made from knit dried leaves in the form of a cup. Usually rice based dishes, pongal, kesari etc are seved in Donnais. They are pretty leak-proof as the leaves are shaped and dried in place, sometimes with small sticks. Our potato bhaji was not too watery. It worked out well even with a fresh leaf that was held together with toothpicks.

4 Cups boiled, peeled and mashed Potatoes (we used Yukon Gold)
4-5 Green chillies
½ tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
1/8 tsp Asafoetida
Coriander leaves for garnish

1. Boil potatoes, peel and coarsely mash to yield 4 cups (piece to mashed ratio roughly 3:1)
2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan and add the mustard. When the mustard begins to crackle reduce the flame to low and add the chopped green chillies, curry leaves (whole or cut to small pieces with scissors directly into the pan), asafoetida, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Cook for a minute.
3. Add the mashed potatoes to the above mixture and cook on medium flame for few minutes with some water to blend in the tastes. The end result should be wet, but not runny.
4. Garnish with coriander leaves

Now that we’ve ventured into the depths of deep-frying Hades, why not throw some more stuff into that vile vat of oil?

Dal puris and dal rotis are common in Bihar, Bengal, and parts of the Carribean and Mauritius, where they were introduced to the local cuisine by Bihari immigrants. A dal puri is something between a puri and a kachori, ‘cos it is a tad harder and crisper than a regular puri/poori. It’s basically wheat dough stuffed with a cooked lentil mixture – usually made of chana (split Bengal gram) dal. In central and northern India (Madhya Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh), dal puris are made with urad dal (split black lentils).

Urad dal is white though it is called ‘black lentil”. That’s because the version used in this recipe is skinned. (See skinned urad HERE)

Usually, the dough is kneaded separately, the dal and spices are soaked, ground and cooked until dry. A ball of the dough mixture is placed within a pocket of dough, rolled out and deep-fried. (See this recipe.)

We used a quicker method where we soaked and ground the urad dal and mixed the flour directly into it to form puris. It is usually served with Dahiwale Aloo (Potatoes in a Yogurt-based Sauce)

In our opinion, it’s way tastier than a plain puri. It’s also our attempt to lend our unabashed carbfest some dignity (aka protein).

Soak 1/2 cup skinned urad dal for atleast 2 hours with 2 dry red chillies (or add chilli powder later). Drain the water and save it.

Put the dal and chillies into a food processor and grind it to a very smooth paste with as little of the soaking liquid as possible. We used about 1/3 cup. Add enough whole wheat flour (both atta and American-style whole wheat flour work fine) – we ended up using about 2 cups -, salt, 1/4 tsp asafoetida, 1 tsp kalonji (nigella seeds). (Optional additions: green chillies/cumin).

Knead to make a firm dough. It will be a tad stickier than regular puri dough. Cover well and let it rest for half an hour. Keeping it in the refrigerator helps firm it up. Roll into thinnish disks and deep-fry in hot oil (around 360 F) for a few seconds on each side until golden (if they brown, they will turn too hard). The temperature of the oil is absolutely key to puffy puris. Drain on paper towels and serve.

If you want to eat it as a teatime snack (like mathri), roll it into thick tiny discs (use a cookie cutter), prick it with a fork, and fry or bake until brown and crisp, like crackers.

Or just make regular rotis with little or no oil.

Urad Dal Puris with Potato Bhaji for Anita’s party.

We’re also sending this over to Andrea @ Andrea’s Recipes, who has a great event celebrating summer’s bounty called Grow Your Own.

- Jai

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  1. musical says:

    Love that dona!

  2. lakshmi says:

    i agree, urad dal puris are way more tasty than their plain cousins.

  3. wanching says:

    for making the soy yogurt, how much pectin to use to replace the 1 teaspoon agar agar powder??? also, do i just add it in like the agar agar powder?

    i’m guessing the same amount. have never tried using pectin. – b.

  4. sra says:

    B & J, do you eat potatoes that have sprouted – if that ever happens in your home? I’m never sure what to do with them – sometimes I discard them, sometimes I cut them away and cook the rest. The Net seems to be agreed that the green patches are bad (eaten in big amounts) but have mixed opinions on the eyes.

    we discard green patches and sprouts and cook the potato. – b.

  5. aa says:

    That dona is pretty! so are the puris and the bhaaji!

  6. Anita says:

    Beautiful – the bhaji, the poori, and best of all – the earthy container for the bhaji!

    Dal poori are truly delicious. And another really great dal poori is the bedmi poori from UP (you want to go there next? :) )- made with very coarse whole wheat flour, almost like cracked wheat. These thick, very crisp, pooris are served, again, with a spicy tangy aloo bhaji.

    The party has begun! :horn:

  7. viji says:

    Lovely recipe and great info Bee. As usual interesting post with great pictures. Viji

  8. Rachna says:

    hey this is new to me and looks totally yummy… i know of a similar one where the urad dal is filled in each poori and fried…this is different…. def try it out

  9. Kajal says:

    I never try urad dal puri but I think I will try it as early as possible….Very nice work. Great post. :)

  10. Laavanya says:

    I’ve always wanted to try out Urad dhal puris. Yours look so good.

    Nice post about growing potatoes and that was a neat idea to use cardboard boxes. I didn’t know they were so easy.

  11. Dhana says:

    Urad dal puris does sound nice, given that I have way too much urad dal (no idea why!) at home :) . Btw, I am soo jealous of your (super) green thumb…all i can manage to “grow” is a mint plant that I hear grows irrespective of whether one has a green thumb or not :hmm:

  12. coffee says:

    Donnai is very cute! Never had these urad dal puri’s till now.

  13. Suganya says:

    I have never seen a potato plant before. Wow!

  14. Dee says:

    hey even I make something similar, but add a few more ingredients and we call it kachori. Posted it a while ago in my blog.

    the post about potaotes was informative.

  15. neroli says:

    Absolutely lovely!

  16. Latha says:

    That looks delicious and very creative photography!

  17. Manisha says:

    I am in heaven! This is gorgeous!

    Is there a season for potatoes?

    Maximal tuber formation occurs at soil temperatures between 60° and 70°F. The tubers fail to form when the soil temperature reaches 80°F. Potatoes withstand light frosts in the spring and can be grown throughout most of the country in the cooler part of the growing season, but they prefer the northern tier of states for maximal yield and quality.
    - from here. i guess you can plant some now. our tubers formed nicely at 80 plus. – b

  18. Cynthia says:

    Gosh-darmn-it-woman! I am going crazy for your food! Congrats on growing your own potatoes.

  19. Anh says:

    I am totally speechless! Will just have to try the potato recipe very soon. Thanks for sharing!

  20. archana says:

    I liked the donnai :bow: Urad dal puri and bhaji looks nice ;;) :dance: Pictures are very good :yes:

  21. Jyothsna says:

    Won’t potatoes grow in containers/pots? The puri bhaji in donna looks sinful!

    yes, they will. – b.

  22. pelicano says:

    I tried growing some potatoes this year…sort of…casually. Actually I needed some “filler” plants in a few flower-beds and had these little blue fingerlings that sat in the fridge all winter- I stuck ‘em in the soil. They are very beautiful plants! Well…the other day I dug one up on a whim, but all I managed to harvest were 5 little pea-sized potatoes! Enough for maybe one sparrow. ;;)

  23. pelicano says:

    And your urad pooris and alu baji DO indeed look beautiful- thanks for that info on dahiwale alu- love that stuff! I was just talking about it the other day in fact.

  24. Nupur says:

    The potatoes look amazing! Isn’t it something that a little piece of potato grows into a sturdy whole??
    The dal puri looks delicious too.

  25. Srivalli says:

    lovely post Bee…as I said there is no limit to what you guys grow….puris look heavenly..


  26. Padma says:

    wow this urad dal pooris must be tasting divine, never tasted then before, will surely try to make them some day! beautiful pics of yukon gold potatoes, thanks for sharing Jai! :D

  27. [...] Asha (Aroma) Indira (Mahanandi) Ramya (Aromas of Food) ET (Evolving Tastes) TBC (The Budding Cook) Bee and Jai (Jugalbandi) Prajakta (Swaypakghar) Coffee (The Spice Cafe) Shilpa (Aayi’s Recipes) RP (My Workshop) [...]

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  29. Anonymous says:

    i really love urad daal puri with this bhaji..

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