Mamta's Kitchen - A Family Cookbook

Potato and Peas Curry - Free From Onion, Garlic and Tomatoes

Aloo Matar ki Sabji - Bina Pyaz, Lahsun, aur Tamatar Wali

Mamta Gupta

Curry Free From Garlic Free From Onion Free From Tomato Indian Main Vegetarian

This is a popular vegetarian dish in North India, is often made without onions and tomatoes. Proportion of potatoes and peas are approximate guide only. You can make it without adding peas, potatoes only.

According to Ayurveda, Satvik foods are the fresh, healthy, non-stimulating foods, good for health. Rajasik foods are tasty, spicy, starchy, stimulating food, poor in nutrients, deficient in fibre. Tamasik are stale or preserved, not fresh foods, irritating foods, may result in unhealthy mind and body.

There are many people in India who still do not eat onions or garlic by choice. Both are considered 'Tamsic' foods in Hinduism. They are considered difficult to digest and having negative effect on human body and mind. However, many people worldwide do not eat them these days because they are allergic to them. Many are allergic to tomatoes or choose not to eat them. There is also the misconception that all Indian curries have onions and tomatoes. Again, this is not true. Onions have become indispensable only during the last 50 years, my life time. Before that, most everyday Indian food did not have either onions or garlic, because many people would not touch them! Tomatoes were expensive most of the year and average people could not waste them in cooking.

Tamsic foods are said to leave people feeling sluggish after eating them. Examples of these type of foods include onions, garlic, meat, processed foods, alcohol and stale/leftover food.

Serves 4-6.


  • 500 gm. potatoes
  • 200 gm. or 1 cup frozen or shelled peas*
  • For the gravy:
  • 3 tbsp. oil or ghee
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (to change flavour, try with mustard seed or Panch Pooran
  • A large pinch of asafoetida powder (optional)
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated (optional, but gives nicer flavour)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp. chilli powder or according to taste
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika powder for colour
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, adjust to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam masala
  • *If using fresh peas, pre-boil them until just tender, but not overcooked
  • A handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • Optional
  • You can add 1-2 tablespoon of thick yoghurt/sour cream, kept at room temperature. Cold yoghurt/cream is likely to split if added to a hot dish.


  1. Place potatoes in a pan/pressure cooker/microwave steamer and boil them until soft. How you boil them is your choice. Indians do not peel potatoes before boiling, because it makes them break.
  2. Drain and allow to cool. Peel.
  3. Break them up roughly, not too large, bite size pieces. The 'broken' edges of potatoes make the gravy/sauce thicker, which is difficult to get with neatly sliced potatoes. They are traditionally boiled and broken up in India.
  4. Measure all other ingredients. Without onions and tomatoes, spices in hot oil can burn easily, so it is better if they are ready measured.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and hing/asafoetida powder.
  6. When cumin seeds begin to splutter, add ginger and stir fry for 10 seconds.
  7. Add turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder, salt and stir-for 5-10 seconds. Do not let the spices burn.
  8. Add potatoes and stir fry for a few seconds on lowered heat, for a minute or two, until vegetables look well coated with the spice mix.
  9. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-20 minutes.
  10. If you are using fresh peas, steam them in a microwave steamer for 4-5 minutes. Add pea, frozen or cooked, and simmer for a few minutes. The gravy should have thicken by now from the broken potatoes.
  11. You can add a couple of tablespoons of of thick yoghurt or double cream here, at room temperature, if you want a creamy curry. I don't.
  12. Adjust seasoning and gravy thickness (add more water, if too thick).
  13. Add garam masala and coriander leaves.
  14. Serve hot with fresh Poories or Plain Paratha or Chapatties.
This recipe was originally created Dec 13, 2023 and last updated Apr 21, 2024

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