Ullakazhangu Curry | Pachki aloo

A ridiculously simple and tasty curry, I made this first when I was 15.  Mom had to leave us for a few days and I was in charge of making food. This stir-fry calls for least effort and I make it even today at least once a fortnight and yet none of us tire of it.  In case you wondered what other things I made at 15.  I kept alternating between rava upma and semiya upma for breakfast and tiffin for the next four days until dad got tired, and when mom returned he pleaded that she was not to make upma for at least a month. I bet your first dish was potato based too!

We make several dry roasts and potatoes are a staple. Jr. P loves this style of potatoes and he coined the term ‘pachki aloo’ for this roast. The reason is that the potatoes (aloo in Hindi) are cooked and when roasted with the onions and spices, some of the potatoes get squished with the spices and form a coating for the slices that are whole. ‘Pachki’ in Hindi means squishing. To us this is pachki aloo. Left over pachki aloo makes a very good spread for sandwich toasts, filling for batter dip bondas or can be tweaked to make samosa or paratha.

In South curry refers to dry roasts and not red spicy gravies as generally made out. Forget the measurements and just let your sense of taste lead you.

Recipe : Ullukazhanga curry | Potato roast, South Indian style | Pachki aloo
Classic combination: Tastes best with spicy rasam, morkootan or chinna vengaaya sambar

Potatoes – 4 big ones, scrub and cut into eighths with skin
Onion – 2 medium, chopped fine
Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.
Salt – To taste
Red Chilli Powder – 3/4 to 1 tsp.

Oil – 1 tbsp.
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp.
Chana dal – 1 tsp.
Curry leaves – 5 to 6 sprigs, cleaned and chopped
Dhania leaves – optional – for garnishing


Boil, cool, skin and break the potatoes roughly with a spoon or chop into big chunks, and set aside. Chop onions finely and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok. When hot, add chana dal. As soon as the chana dal changes colour, crackle mustard seeds & chopped curry leaves.

Add onions and roast till nice and brown on medium flame, stirring continously.

Add the potatoes, turmeric, sambar powder, salt and red chilli powder. Toss till the potatoes get coated nicely and keep for some time on low flame till gets a light roasted layer stuck to the wok. Put off fire.

Remove from container immediately. I let it roast for sometime only because I like the layer that sticks very much – if you do not like the idea remove when the potatoes get coated nicely.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • bee

    thank you, dear sunshinemom, and congrats.

  • sra

    Hi Sunshine Mom! Enjoy your awards! The roast looks brilliant, literally and figuratively 🙂 Laughed at your upma adventures and your Dad’s dismay.

  • Aparna

    Congrats, Harini.
    I don’t remember the first thing I cooked, but this is one dish that wins hands down everytime its made here.

  • skribles

    yumm potato roast – and congrats on ur awards
    on ur paneer ques – i m no expert – but givin my 2-cents – if it is only paneer (not sandwich) then I immerse it in warm water after frying to keep it soft – these sandwiches, I allowed them to cook for about 5 odd mins so they became soft. Hope that solves your problem 🙂 – and paneer I try to use fresh within 1 week of buying, else it might become chewy/rubbery like u mentioned

  • Sagari

    delecious potato curry sunshine

  • Rachel

    Something for you harini on my blog!

  • Cham

    Congrats on your awards 🙂 Love urullaikizhangu roast should be heaven with thayir chadam and rasam chadam!

  • Sunshinemom

    JZ- That meant so much coming from you! I love your pics and food style:)

  • JZ @ Tasty treats

    potato roast looks delicous, perfect color and the pic composition looks awesome!!

  • Sunshinemom

    Asha – I love the recipes on both the blogs. This seemed the best way out to treat them on par:)

    Sharmila – Blog visits per day are numbered which is why I did not realize:) Thank U so much!

  • Sharmila

    I had something in my blog for u .. hope u checked … great recipe here 🙂

  • Asha

    Hahaha!! Asha of two hopes! That’s a good one, thank you. Enjoy your award too!:))

    It’s true, potato dish is the first one most of make when we start cooking because it is fool proof. I don’t add sambhar, must try your way, looks yum!:))

  • Sunshinemom

    Sailaja of Sailu’s food – Thanks! Got confused with the other Sailaja on the Blog:)

    Click – Thank you Jai! Still wondering whether you and Bee saw the award I passed!

    Sailaja II – You deserve that hug:)

    Jayasree – Belated thanks for Ganpati Maharaj;) That is one combo the whole family agrees on:)

    Illa – I liked that nickname – hope you don’t mind:) Thank you so much! I love my potatoes spicy and glowing and so add quite a generous amount of haldi!

    Divya – Thanks! I appreciate your answering the query! That is one doubt I always have as the texture varies from eggs to eggless to vegan:)

  • Simran

    Thanks Harini! Ek jaadu ki jhappi tumhe bhi 🙂

    And yes, my first curry was Paneer Butter Masala. But then, I am from Punjab!

  • Divya

    congrats on your deserve it!!

    btw,you asked me for the texture of the cake batter-it should not be too thick as it would not get cooked evenly.It has to be of the consistency of idli-dosa batter,if you know what i mean,if you still have doubts,shall explain further.

  • Illatharasi

    Potato looks so colourful, one more award for you waiting in my blog…….

  • jayasree

    Potato roast and vengaya sambhar is the ultimate combo. Congrats ont the awards . Thanks for the virtual bear hug.

  • Sailaja

    Forgot to mention Congrats on your well deserved awards.

  • Sailaja

    Wow very nice recipe. I love potatoes. Thanks for returning the bear hug.

  • click

    potato roast – all time favorite! looks great.

  • sailaja

    Congrats on your award, Sunshine Mommy! Appreciate your kind words and award very much. Thank you.:)


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