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Karwar spicy potato gravy (Batata garam masala bhaji)

Karwar is a small town across from Goa in the state of Karnataka. It is famed for its beaches and unique cuisine. The cuisine is fish-heavy due to its proximity to the coast but the vegetarian dishes also shine. The cuisine is complex with many spices and the distinct Bydagi chillies that grow only in this region.

This is a complex curry that is tempered by the potatoes. The curry is loaded with spicy Bydagi chillies and traditional fresh coconut creates a delicious curry. the soft potatoes temper the flavours. This is the perfect curry with dosas or rice.

This is a very distinctive cookbook on Karwar cuisine that I adore. The food is intense and authentic, every recipe that I have cooked from here is absolutely delicious. I really have no memory of where and when I bought this cookbook, but I am so glad it sits on my shelf. I highly recommend this cookbook to those who want to master and enjoy this very unique cuisine.

For more recipes from the beautiful cookbook, click here.


For the spicy gravy:

2 tablespoons oil

1 small onion, finely sliced

6-7 Bydagi chillies or other dried red chillies

1/2 cup grated fresh coconut

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

1/2-3/4 cup water

For the potatoes:

2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, finely sliced

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

Salt, to taste

2 cups water

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions. fry till the onions are well browned. Add the chillies and coconut and fry till the coconut is light golden in colour. Remove and cool completely.

Add the cooled onion mix with all the other spicy gravy ingredients to a small blender and pirée till very smooth. You are looking for a thick paste, do not make the mix too runny.

Heat the oil in a saucepan large enough for the curry. Add the onions and fry till well browned. Add the spice paste and fry till the paste has dried out completely and turned a couple of shades darker to a deep brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes till the paste has clung to the potatoes and they have started to cook. Add the salt and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes till the potatoes are very soft and are beginning to disintegrate. The curry should be quite runny, adjust with more water as needed. Taste the curry for salt and spice and adjust as needed.

Serve hot garnished with cilantro with dosas or as a side dish.

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