Potato is just a potato, right? Wrong! There are loads of different types, and it will make a difference to the taste and texture of your curry. Some potatoes work better than others, but what are the best potatoes for Curry? Today I'm talking potatoes and will show you the different types you can use and what makes them so great.
Quick Answer | What Are the Best Potatoes for Curry
The best potatoes for curry are any type that is floury or all-purpose. Potato variations such as Yukon Gold, Rooster, or King Edward potatoes will all fit the bill nicely. They cook relatively quickly, soak up excess moisture and will often work well to thicken and add real depth to the curry sauce.
To learn about other potato types that work really well in Indian food, read on…
Are Potatoes Used in Indian Food?
Yes, they are. There are plenty of Indian dishes that feature the humble potato. Want a few examples off the top of my head? Oh just…
- Vindaloo – a red hot curry
- Samosas – simmered vegetables, wrapped in a light and crisp pastry
- Aloo Gobi – a mix of Indian spiced cauliflower and potatoes
- Bombay Potatoes (bit obvious, right?) – Potatoes roasted in a rich and spicy tomato sauce
- Dum Aloo – slowly stewed potatoes served in a rich curry sauce
- Aloo Paratha – a buttery and flaky bread made with potatoes
- Aloo Mutter – a potato and pea curry in a creamy tomato-based sauce.
Are you noticing a theme with some of the above? What do you think the word "aloo" means?
You've guessed it. Spuds, potatoes, tatties!
Why Use Potatoes in Curry?
There are a few reasons why you might want to use a potato or two in your curries. If you haven't considered it before, it might be time to give it a try.
Here are some great reasons to include a potato when next considering making Indian food
Potatoes are Mild in Flavor
Let's face it, there isn't too much that is offensive about a potato.
If you want to add a few extra ingredients but don't want to drastically alter the taste of your curry, potatoes are a fab choice!
Potatoes are Great for Adding Bulk
Ever had a few extra guests that you weren't expecting?
Fear not. Here's the answer.
Add a couple of potatoes to make a curry stretch a little further.
Some Indian Recipes Call for Potatoes Specifically
An aloo dish isn't an aloo dish without… Well, the aloo! Some Indian dishes have potato as the main ingredient!
Potatoes can Make Curry Thicker
If you've read my article on how to make curry sauce thicker, you'll already know that potatoes are a great way to add substance to a dish.
They soak up water and release starch, both of which will help to reduce the amount of sauce without taking away any of that lovely curry flavour!
Potatoes can Make Curry Milder
If you've overdone it on the old spice front, a few cubes of potato can go some way to reducing that heat. They soak up some of the capsaicin, the element responsible for curries tasting hot!
If you want to learn more about cooling down a got curry, check out this article.
Are There Different Types of Potatoes?
Of course, there are. Potatoes are just like any other vegetable, and there are all sorts of different varieties.
That's good for you…
Because it means you'll easily find something suitable and get all of the benefits mentioned above.
You need to watch out, as some types of potato really don't work in curry!
As a general rule, you can split potatoes into three distinct categories. They are as follows: -
Waxy potatoes have a high moisture content and tend to be really firm. They tend to have really thin skins and are yellowish in colour.
They will hold their shape well, especially when boiled, but they don't tend to soak up a lot of excess moisture due to their' hardness'.
Examples of waxy potatoes will include: -
- New Potatoes
- Baby Potatoes
- Anya Potatoes
- Jersey Royals
These are the type that makes great mash and also roast potatoes.
They have a really high starch content and relatively little moisture. The flesh of these potatoes tends to be a whiter colour. They have relatively thick skin and are also ideal for baking.
Examples include: -
- King Edward Potatoes
- Russet Potatoes
- Vivaldi Potatoes
These are a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Don't worry, little spuds, we still love you!
They are still pretty good to use in an Indian curry. They have a medium starch and moisture content making them ideal for use in a variety of dishes. There's a good chance that you'll already have some in your cupboard at home.
Varieties of all-purpose potatoes include: -
- Maris Piper Potatoes
- Desiree Red Potatoes
- Rooster Potatoes
The Best Types of Potatoes for Curry | What to Look for
Alright, let's get down to it.
Here's what to look for when choosing a potato to use in curry…
Medium to High Starch Content
Listen, you are going to get guys saying choose waxy spuds.
Not in this kitchen, Mister!
You want the potatoes to turn a little floury and break down just a bit.
When was the last time you had a curry with solid lumps of potato in?
That's right, never! A high starch content means they will be softer, and they will release some of this starch into your dish, making it thicker and slightly creamy.
Medium to Low Moisture Content
Low to medium moisture content means that as your potato is exposed to heat and liquid, it will soak it up.
Chunks of potato packed with rich and spicy curry sauce?
It sounds good to me.
Easy to Peel
Think all 'taters are easy peelers? Think again. You'll need a potato with a nice thick skin that is easy to remove. Anything that is a decent size will be good too, get a grip!
Quick to Cook
If you've read any of my curry recipes, you should have noticed a general trend. They all take less than 20 minutes to cook.
If you are adding potatoes, you will want them to cook equally as quickly.
Floury and all-around potatoes tend to cook much quicker than the waxy variety, which is another good reason to use them.
Avoid Waxy Potatoes
Waxy potatoes really don't work well in curry. They are too firm and tend to take too long to cook. You will rarely see them used in authentic Indian kitchens.
There is an exception, however.
You occasionally see them used in south-east Asian style curries. Still, for Indian restaurants, they tend to be a no-no.
With all of the above in mind, here is my top potato hit list for use in curries!
Best Potatoes for Curry | 5 Great Suggestions
Yukon gold is a great choice for many reasons.
While the flesh is a little moist, they boil well and have a decent starch content.
While they might be a bit too fragile for stews, they make the ideal choice for use in curry. They cook quickly and hold their general shape well without being too hard.
If you prefer to have your potato cubes keep their shape in your curry, then these are an excellent choice.
King Edward Potatoes
You'll probably know these by another name.
Baking potatoes. They do so well as bakers because of their high starch content giving a really fluffy and floury texture.
They do break down fairly quickly, but we will want them to cook pretty sharpish in a curry, so that's a good thing.
If you are looking for something to soak up spice or liquid, and thicken your curry considerably, then these are a superb choice.
Maris Piper Potatoes
If in doubt when making curry, reach for a Maris Piper. They are the UK's most consumed potato and for a good reason.
They are excellent in most dishes, and yes, that does include curry. They aren't quite as floury as King Edwards, but you'll still get a similar effect.
They tend to be one of the cheaper and more readily available ingredients in supermarkets too!
Desiree potatoes are a little more towards the firm side, so if you are after well-defined chunks of potato in your curry, then this could be the one for you.
Desiree potatoes have pale red skin, and the flesh beneath is slightly yellowish in colour.
I tend to only opt for these at a push as they are a little too firm for my liking, but they are especially good in slow-cooked curry dishes and those that require excessive cooking time.
Ah, the little red roosters!
These bright red potatoes are pretty decent in an Indian curry. They are something of a cross between a Desiree and a Maris Piper.
While they will work, it must be remembered that they are an all-rounder, so they will be slightly firmer than the truly floury potatoes.
How Do You Cut Potatoes For Curry? | Quick Guide
Right, I know it might sound simple to prepare potatoes for curry, but people often get it wrong.
Here's a quick guide on how to cut potatoes for curry: -
- Peel Your potatoes and soak them to stop them from turning brown
- Cut a small flat section onto one side of your potato. This will form a stable base.
- Place your base on the chopping board and slice the potatoes lengthways into long, oval-shaped discs.
- It's important to note that the thickness of your 'discs' will determine how big the cubes are.
- Take two or three discs and cut them lengthways into chips. Try and make your chips the same height as the planks.
- Turn your potato planks sideways on and now cut horizontally to form cubes. Try to make them pretty uniform.
Want to see this exact technique in action?
I've found this 50-second video that demonstrates it perfectly: -
More Tips for Cutting Potatoes for Curry…
Skin Off, Always
I don't think I've ever had a proper Indian curry with the skin on the potatoes.
It's just weird.
Skins on potatoes are nice on chips and baked spuds, on something that has been quickly simmered, like curry, not so much.
Make sure you peel your potatoes as part of your preparation to put them into a curry.
Cubes Not Slices
I've seen the odd funky recipe floating around asking people to cut their potatoes into discs before putting them into a curry.
Trust me, this isn't the way.
Tell me, when was the last time you had discs of potato in an authentic Indian curry?
Never is when.
You'll either end up with discs of potato ruining the look of your curry, or they will cook too quickly and break down into a starchy goop. Neither is what you want.
To solve this and get a really authentic texture and look, cut your potatoes into cubes…
Most British Indian Curries are cooked relatively quickly over high heat.
Guess what doesn't cook well relatively quickly over high heat?
Huge cubes of potato, that's what.
You want your potatoes to cook through at the same pace as the rest of your dish. The smaller you can cut your cubes, the greater the surface area. Greater surface area means reduced cooking time.
I'd go no bigger than sugar cubes when incorporating potatoes into your curry sauce.
Make Sure Your Cubes are Roughly Equal in Size
If you cut your potatoes into different sizes, you will find that they cook through at different times.
That's a bad thing.
The solution? Try your hardest to make them roughly similar in size. A little variation isn't too bad, but don't go too far, or you'll end up with raw potato on one end of the dish and mushy potato on the other.
What Are the Best Potatoes for Curry? | Final Thoughts…
Instead of focusing on specific types of potatoes, when cooking Indian food, you are better off looking at the characteristics of potatoes. The best potatoes for curry will be floury with low moisture content and high starch content as a general rule of thumb. As long as you can tick those boxes, you should be good to use them! Got a favourite potato curry? Why not tell me about it in the comments below?
I have a question. I'm learning to cook, and following cooking blogs and youtube channels, and I have noticed that sometimes the cook asks for boiled potatoes to be put in the curry and sometimes just raw cubes. When is it you put in the boiled potatoes and when you don't? Does it depend on what other vegetable you are cooking your potatoes with?
Thanks for getting in touch. That is actually a great question.
Each curry recipe varies. Those that are supposed to be cooked over a longer period (say 30 minutes or more) are fine to use with raw potatoes. Those that are cooked quickly will require pre boiled potatoes.
Personally, I always use precooked potatoes. When cooking in the BIR Style this is exactly how Indian restaurants do it. Their curries are supposed to be cooked quickly, but if you used raw potato there is a chance that it won’t cook as quickly as the other ingredients. To counter this, we precook the potatoes to give them a bit of a head start.
Plenty of curries feature potatoes, and being as you have asked, I’ve decided to go right on ahead and make an article telling you everything you’ll need to know about adding potatoes to curry. You can find it here.