A Maximalist Potato Salad

I love the fragrance and texture of the fried curry leaves here, and you can find them at most Indian grocery stores. I always buy extra, and freeze a bunch. After freezing, they’re not quite as fragrant as fresh, but they do the job and it’s nice to have them on hand. An alternative to the curry leaves is a big handful of chopped fresh basil. A different preparation altogether, but fragrant, summery, and wonderful as well. This is a spring version, but a summer version would be grilled corn, roasted tomatoes, and green beans in place of the asparagus, favas, and peas.


  • 5-6 medium new potatoes (the waxy kind) - 2 lbs.
  • 5 cloves medium garlic, chopped
  • 1- inch cube of ginger, peeled & chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 25 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoons black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 medium serrano chile, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder (cayenne, guitar sannam)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup chopped herbs (chives, cilantro, basil)
  • 2-3 cups of blanched seasonal vegetables - for example: asparagus segments, fava beans, peas
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch chunks. Boil in salted water until tender throughout, 7-10 minutes. Drain, toss a bit, and set aside.
  2. Sprinkle the garlic and ginger with the salt, and chop and smash to a paste.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry leaves, toss to coat with oil, and fry until it is fragrant and just starting to crisp - 20 seconds or so. Add the mustard seeds and when the seeds begin to pop a bit, stir in the cumin seeds. It should start to toast pretty quickly, and at that point, stir in the garlic-ginger paste along with the serrano chiles. Sauté for another minute or so, remove from heat, and immediately stir in the chile powder and turmeric.

  4. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a large bowl, add the chickpeas and chopped herbs and toss gently. Pour the spiced oil over the potatoes along with half of the vegetables and toss well. Taste and add more salt, if needed, along with a couple big squeezes of lemon juice. Toss again, and top with the remaining vegetables and sesame seeds. Serve warm or at room temp (definitely not cold).
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serves 8


Serves 6-8.