Harissa-spiced Marinated Potatoes with Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Sauce


Harissa Potatoes with Yogurt Sauce

Harissa Potatoes with Yogurt Sauce

I have one lovely recipe for marinated baked potatoes on here, which my sister gave me. I thought it time for another. This one’s a little different. For starters, it’s crusted in panko breadcrumbs. Also, it’s spiced with harissa. I bought my harissa, but you can make it if you like. I’ve seen recipes out there on the net. Warning! This recipe calls for 8-10 hours marination time. Also, harissa is super spicy. Taste it before you use it.

The low-fat buttermilk in this recipe is what you get in the US in cartons. If you’re in India, use 2 tbsp sour curds (yogurt) mixed with 2/3 cup warm water instead. The yogurt sauce is essentially a variation on cucumber raita.

You need:

  1. 4-5 small potatoes
  2. 1 tbsp harissa paste
  3. 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, room temperature
  4. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  5. salt to taste (I didn’t add any)

For the sauce:

  1. 1 cup thick yogurt (ideally Greek yogurt)
  2. 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped English cucumber
  4. salt to taste
Harissa paste and buttermilk

Harissa and buttermilk

How to:

  1. First, mix all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce together, cover, and put it in the fridge. 
  2. Parboil the potatoes. Don’t let them get mushy. Cool in cold water and ice.
  3. Peel the potatoes and if they are not small, cut them in half.
  4. Pierce with a fork.
  5. In a bowl big enough to hold the potatoes, mix the buttermilk and harissa paste. Whisk together.
  6. Place the peeled potatoes in this mixture.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8-10 hours. Overnight is good, 24 hours even better. potatoes in buttermilk mixture
  8. Take the potatoes out of the fridge after 8-10 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  10. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a plate.
  11. Gently stir the buttermilk to make sure the potatoes are well coated with it, then lift out, shake gently, and roll in the panko.
  12. Cover well with the panko, then place the potatoes on a foil lined, oil sprayed baking dish.
  13. Cook uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the panko starts to brown.
  14. When it starts to brown, turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes on each side for a nice browning. Be careful, as the panko can burn very fast. You have to watch it constantly.
  15. Remove from the oven and serve with chilled yogurt sauce.


The grandest of all South Indian vegetable dishes! Who doesn’t love aviyal? Perfect for festival occasions, and for just simply! However, this is not an easy recipe, and takes time and effort. Well worth it, though.

Preparation (chopping, etc.): 40 Minutes
Boiling (vegetables, do them simultaneously if possible): 30 Minutes
Simmering once mixed: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


1 cup yam, julienned (this is not sweet potato, but the large, brown, yam – the ugliest one in the store – jimikand)
1 cup plantain, peeled and julienned (vazhakai, or kaccha kela). Be careful to wash your hands after, as the sticky stuff stains.
1 cup white pumpkin, or marrow, or yellow squash, julienned
1 cup green beans, julienned
½ cup peas
½ cup carrots, julienned
1 large baking potato, julienned (don’t use a soft potato like the ones used for mashed potatoes)
2 cups fresh coconut, shredded/grated (or dehydrated + 1 can coconut milk)
2 cups yogurt
1 tbsp. rice flour
1 tsp. tamarind paste
4 green chillies, or to taste
5 leaves curry leaves
1 tbsp. oil , preferably coconut oil
to taste salt


1. The vegetables should be cut in thick strips of 1/2″, not thinner. Keep the vegetables separate.
2. If you do not have fresh coconut, use dried, rehydrate, and add one can of coconut milk.
3. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 4 cups warm water.
4. Boil the plantain in this water until it is cooked, but firm. It will feel like a cooked potato. (Think al dente).
5. Remove the banana and set aside. Boil the yam in the same water, to a similar firmness.
6. Drain and throw away the water.
7. Boil or steam all the other vegetables. These may be cooked together. The vegetables should still be firm; do not overcook them. Do not drain completely, retain about two cups of water.
8. Grind the coconut and green chillies together to a fine paste. Add water as necessary, but do not make liquidy.
9. Place all the vegetables in a large wok or kadhai.
10. Add ground coconut paste and salt. Stir gently, but mix well.
11. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.
12. Dissolve the rice flour in 1/2 cup water and add to the vegetables. Mix gently and simmer for 3 minutes more.
13. Whip the yogurt until smooth.
14. Turn off the heat, add the yogurt to the vegetables, and stir well, taking care not to break the vegetables.
15. In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the curry leaves. Make sure they are not wet. Allow to sputter and add to the vegetables. Mix well.
Serve over rice. Makes 6 servings.

Thair Vadai

(Deep fried lentil patties in spiced yogurt).

Preparation time: ~30 minutes + 6 hours

Cooking time: ~40 minutes

You need: 2 cups urad dal; 5 cups yogurt; 2 green chilies; 1 cup shredded coconut (fresh is preferable, but not necessary); cilantro; salt to taste; lots of oil for deep frying

How to: Soak the dal in lots of water for at least six hours. Drain, rinse, and grind in a food processor. Do not add water. If it is difficult to grind, add a tablespoon or so of water. It should have the consistency of peanut butter – grind it as smoothly as possible. Drop a little batter in a bowl of water – it should float.

Grind the coconut, yogurt, salt, and green chilies together and refrigerate in a large flat pan you can serve the thair vadai in.

Heat oil for frying. Mix half the batter with salt. Keep a bowl of cold water handy. Wet your hands thoroughly. Take a small amount of batter in your hand (about the size of a lime). Pat flat and drop into the oil. Turn over once to ensure even cooking. Fry until golden brown. Place a paper towel on a plate and drain the vadais on that. Repeat for other half of batter. The batter may be frozen, but I’m not sure for how long it will keep. If you want to make the vadais up ahead, store them refrigerated in a Ziploc bag.

Heat some water (to as hot as you can bear to put your hand in). Put the vadais into the water. Take out, squeeze the water out, and place in the yogurt. The yogurt should cover the vadais fully. Garnish with cilantro.

Marinated baked potatoes

This one’s from my sister (thanks, Ka!) and it’s delicious 🙂

Preparation time: 30 minutes + marinade time

Cooking time: 40 minutes

You need: As many potatoes as you like (at least 4-5); 2-3 cups thick yogurt; 2 tsp minced ginger or ginger paste; 2 tbsp minced garlic or garlic paste; 1 tbsp lemon juice; 1/2 tsp turmeric; and to taste: salt, red chili powder, ground cumin (jeera powder)

How to: Peel the potatoes, cut them into 2″ pieces if needed, and set to boil. I used Yukon Golds, which worked very well. Don’t let them boil too much – they should be done through but not squishy.

Meanwhile, put the yogurt in a bowl and add everything else to it. Mix well.

When the potatoes are done, put them in the bowl with the marinade and cover thoroughly. Marinate at least one hour. The longer you leave them in, the better they will taste. the maximum I’ve gone is three days, so this is a good dish to make in advance for a party.

Take the potatoes out of the marinade and place in an oven-proof dish. Cover with a little marinade (so they don’t dry out) and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.

Paneer Tikki

Tikki = patty/cutlet

Preparation time: 1-1.5 hours

Cooking time: about 20 minutes

You need: Paneer, however, do not weight it and press it down for an hour. Instead, drain it for about ten minutes. It needs to be crumbly and soft.

Also, you need 1/2 cup finely chopped onion; 2 cups powdered cornflakes; yogurt; 1 egg, beaten; and to taste: salt, red chili powder, coriander powder.

How to: Put the paneer in a big bowl and mix in the spices. Saute the onions and add to the paneer. Mix well.
Add enough yogurt to the paneer so you can easily shape it into patties (roll into a ball and flatten with your hand). I found that they worked best when they were small, about 2″ in diameter. Otherwise they crumbled and fell apart.

Use a basting brush to brush some egg over each side of each tikki. Roll it in the cornflakes so it is coated with them. You might find it useful to make all the tikkis before you get to cooking them.

Heat some oil in a pan (enough to shallow-fry). Place the tikkis gently in the pan and cook till browned on both sides. Put a paper towel on a plate and let the excess oil drain away before eating.

cucumber raita

This is the best. Raita is basically yogurt with vegetables in. Usually. Anyway.

1 lb. yogurt; 1/2 a slicing cucumber or 1 small one; salt and pepper to taste.

Peel and grate the cucumber into a bowl. Add the yogurt, salt and pepper. Mix well. Chill.

If you water it down a bit (raita is ideally a bit thick) you can even have it as “soup” on a hot day. With a nice salad.