Honoring my MIL & Bharwan Alu

Bharma Alu
Bharwan Alu

The “Saas Bahu” combination is supposed to give the creeps:-D However my mom-in-law is one of the most wonderful people I have ever come across and I could not ask for more. Getting married when I just stepped in to my twenties… I thought and moved with caution, but immediatley she helped me get absorbed in to the family and more than all, amazed me with her exceptional cooking skills. Over the years I have learned a lot of what she cooks, especially the ones which are loved and craved by my hubby.

This is one of her more complex, time consuming, rich and the tastiest recipes. Even now after many many years people talk about her “Bharwan Alu”(Potatoes stuffed with onions & spices in a thick rich gravy) and request her to make it whenever they get a chance. I make it in special occasions, for I really cannot make the time for it. I had to get a lot of practice and guidance to perfect the taste and I hope I have done as good a job as she does.

So here it is from her to me, and from me to all of you.


I am sending this to Saas Bahu Aur Sensex Contest hosted by Edible Garden.

Check out the Movie Saas Bahu Aur Sensex.



  1. 8 Large Full Bodied Oval Potatoes
  2. 4 Large Red or Yellow Onions
  3. 8 Big Cloves of Garlic
  4. 1″ Ginger peeled and very finely chopped
  5. 5 Green Chillies Chopped Fine
  6. 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Cashew or Almond
  7. 2 tablespoons of Raisins
  8. 2 teaspoons of Cumin seeds/Jeera
  9. 2 teaspoons of Turmeric
  10. 4 tablespoons of Red Chilli Powder(Optional or adjust amount)
  11. 1 tablespoon of Coriander Powder
  12. 8-10 Tablespoons of Oil
  13. 4 Tablespoons of Fresh Coriander/Cilantro chopped
  14. 5 cloves
  15. 4 Small Green Cardamoms
  16. 2″ sticks of cinnamon
  17. Salt



Peel the Potatoes and horizontally cut them in halves. Now the inside of the halves need to be scooped out to form a hollow with thin walls around it. I use a thin tipped small spoon to scrape the insides. Scrape carefully in circular motions taking care not to break the side walls.

This is what is should look like after the hollows are made:

Now take 2 large containers half filled with water & and add salt to the water. Put the hollowed potatoes in the salt water so that they are all covered. And put the scooped out potatoes in the other container with water so they are all covered. This is done so that the Potatoes do not change color while they are in contact with air and at the same time the salt is absorbed and makes it easier to cook.

Chop and Slice 1 Onion. Slice the Ginger in very very fine slices. Chop the green chillies and cilantro. Keep the raisins and the nuts ready.

Heat a pan and add 2 cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon and 1 cardamom and dry roast them, till you can smell them. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and add 1/2 teaspoon of Cumin Seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the onion & ginger to it. Fry them till the onions are glazed and just starts to brown. Add the nuts and the green chillies. Stir it for some time and now add the scooped out potatoes to it.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder, salt and the raisins. Stir everything together for a few minutes and cover it and cook at low heat till the potatoes are almost done. They Should not be mushy, but can be broken with a spoon.

This is what it looks like:


Set Aside. This mix is going to be filled inside the Hollow Halves.

Chop the rest of the Onions, and peel the garlic cloves. Grind them smooth in the blender.

Take 1/2 cup of water and add the rest of the turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, & salt. Mix with a spoon and set aside.

Heat another large flat but deep  pan. Dry roast the rest of the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. When you smell them, add the rest of the oil and add the Cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, carefully pour the Onion and Garlic Blend in the oil. It will Sizzle and Splutter a lot, so be careful. Cover it and cook for about 10 minutes at medium heat.

Uncover and Add the mix of the dry powders( turmeric, chilli, coriander and salt) to the onion and garlic mix. Stir it so everything is mixed together and cover it again and cook it till the oil bubbles up and leaves the side of the pan. (From time to time, uncover and stir it around so it does not stick at the bottom of the pan or get burnt. The color should not turn dark brown. It should still be medium brown. )

While this is getting done, fill the potato halves with the filling which is already cooked. Set aside after they are filled. This is how they should look:


After the masala (The Onion, garlic & the dry spice blend) is almost done, lower the heat and carefully place the potato halves in the pan over the masala in a single layer. If there are any left over filling add them to this at this time. Take half cup of water and pour it over this and cook it covered at low heat till the potatoes are tender but not breaking. Again stir it gently time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Avoid moving around the potatoes as the fillings will spill out.

When done the onion & garlic blend should be cooked, and the gravy should be enough to coat the potatoes. Garnish with with the rest of the chopped coriander/cilantro. I obviously forgot before the took the pictures:-D


Serve with hot Roti or Naan.


Note: This is a very rich dish and if you compromise on the amount of oil, it will not taste the same.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

15 comments to Honoring my MIL & Bharwan Alu

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

subscribe twitter icons


Find eCurry in: