Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta is a sweet and sour Himachali dish. Potatoes and capsicum/bell peppers are cooked in a tangy sauce made of tamarind, jaggery, tomatoes, and spices. This preparation does not use onions and garlic. Traditionally this dish is cooked with mustard oil in an iron kadai (wok). This is enjoyed as a side dish along with other dishes.

Himachalis love their khatta. There are different varieties of khatta prepared in Himachali Dham, like kadu ka khatta (pumpkin in sweet and sour sauce), kale channa (Black gram) ka khatta. In my hometown, **Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta** is most common in everyday household cooking.

What I love about Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta

This recipe comes from our family kitchen and is simple, quick, delicious to make at home. A perfect side dish for a weekday meal along with some Dal that comes together in less than 30 minutes. The warm and unique flavors of this dish are enjoyed by everyone and this dish is my husband’s absolute favorite.

We enjoy **Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta** with steamed white rice along with Dal Tadka or Urad dal and Jhol. I hope you all will enjoy making this for your family and share it with your friends.

How do I achieve the color for Aloo Mirch ka Khatta

A common question I often get asked about this dish and Kaddu ka khatta is about how I achieve the color. The most important factor is the quality of ingredients. I use jaggery powder that is darker in color instead of refined white sugar. The quality of tamarind and the tamarind pulp (the more you dilute it with water the lighter it gets in color). Next is the cooking process, when you add the jaggery powder, give it time to caramelize and the last is that I use a cast iron wok for cooking.

How to make Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta

Ingredients for Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta

Make the Tamarind pulp

Soak tamarind (wet or dry) in 1/4 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. Once softened mash it to a rough paste. Press the mixture through a sieve into a bowl, discarding any seeds or thick fiber. The tamarind pulp is ready for use.

Bloom the Whole spices

In a wok (Kadai) on medium, heat the canola/vegetable oil. Next, add the dried red chilies, as soon as the chilies change color to a deeper red, add cumin seeds and coriander seeds and as soon as they begin to splutter and change color lower the heat.

Note: Traditionally this dish is prepared in mustard oil, but this time I have used Canola oil. You can substitute Canola/Vegetable oil with mustard oil. If using Mustard oil heat it on high. Mustard oil has a sharp taste, to mellow and mild the flavors it is heated till the smoking point. 

Whole Spices

Cook the tomatoes

Add the chopped tomatoes, Stir to combine. Next, add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Combine everything well together and let the tomatoes cook thoroughly with stirring occasionally. The tomatoes should not fully disintegrate. This will take about 5 minutes.

Add ground spices

TIP: I always prefer to add the ground spices after adding the tomatoes, because adding them directly to the hot oil, increases the chance of ground spices getting burnt. 

Next, add the boiled potatoes

Add the diced boiled and diced potatoes and stir until potatoes and tomato masala are well combined. Keep stirring at regular intervals and scraping the bottom of the wok. Let this cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Add boiled potatoes

Add the diced Green bell pepper/Capsicum/Shimla Mirch

Add the diced bell pepper and stir until potatoes, bell pepper, and tomato masala are well combined. Let this cook for about 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring at regular intervals and scraping the bottom of the wok. Do not overcook the bell peppers in this step because it will still continue to cook a little more in the next steps.

NOTE: I love the crunch from the bell peppers in this dish, not when it gets overcooked and becomes soggy. You can cook this longer to achieve the desired texture of the bell peppers as per your liking.

Add bell pepper

Combine the Jaggery powder

Add the jaggery powder, stir well to coat the vegetables. The jaggery starts to caramelize and as a result, the dish starts to turn brown. Cook on low heat for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add jaggery

Tamarind pulp, water, and finishing Aloo Shimla Mirch ka Khatta.

Next, add the tamarind pulp and stir carefully to combine. Lastly, add 3/4 cup of warm water. Adjust the salt, and let it come to a boil. Simmer on medium heat with occasional and careful stirring. The curry will start to thicken, this can take about 5 minutes.

NOTE: At this point, you can also adjust the sweetness of the dish by adding more jaggery powder.

Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta ready

TIP: It is very important to add the tamarind when the vegetables are almost tender because tamarind slows down the cooking process. The curry will tend to thicken as it sits, you can reheat by adding 1/4 cup of warm water.

Aloo Shimla Mirch ka khatta is ready! Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) and serve with hot steamed white rice along with some Dal Tadka.