Saucy Spiced Meat and Potatoes

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    3 or 4

Appears in

This simple dish of cubes of potato simmered in an aromatic ground beef sauce lends itself to experimentation. I sometimes add mushrooms, for example, to the simmering sauce. Or I make the dish with lamb or goat instead, using cubes of eggplant in place of or in addition to the potato.

The initial spicing of cumin, coriander, shallot, and ginger is reminiscent of northern India. Black pepper is not traditional, but I find it a great addition.

Serve as a simple one-dish meal, on its own or over rice, with a vegetable side or a salad.


  • About 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 medium potatoes (about 1 pound),peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon Red Chile Powder, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)


Mix the meat with the salt, turmeric, cumin, and coriander in a bowl. If you have time, set aside for an hour, covered, in a cool place to let the flavors blend.

Place a skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the oil, and when it is hot, toss in the shallots and ginger and cook until the shallots are translucent and softened, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until lightly browned; then raise the heat to high, add 1 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are nearly cooked, about 10 minutes.

Add the meat mixture and stir to break up any lumps and to incorporate it. If the water has boiled away, add another ½ cup so there’s enough liquid to make a meat sauce texture. Stir in the tomatoes and chile powder and simmer, uncovered, until all the meat has changed color and the potatoes are tender; add a little more water while everything cooks if you’d like more sauce. Add the black pepper, if using, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.

Rakhine Chile-Hot Meat and Potatoes

Add 1 tablespoon minced galangal to the spice mixture, and add 3 green cayenne chiles, slit lengthwise, when you add the water to the potatoes.