Chukauni is a potato and yogurt salad tempered with mustard seed and turmeric. It is a regional dish from the Western part of Nepal and enjoyed as a side dish. It is a vegetarian & gluten-free recipe.
I was introduced to chukauni (potato & yogurt salad from the Western part of Nepal - Palpa district) by my friend Ruchi in college. She is a fantastic cook and I still recall eating yogurt & mustard-forward potato salad, very different than potato salad I grew up eating in Kathmandu.
Chukauni is often enjoyed as a part of a meal/side dish with other Nepali dishes such as choyela, chiura (beaten/flattened rice), bara etc. Instead of a regular mayo-based potato salad, I served chukauni alongside Texas BBQ favorites brisket, hot dogs, mac n cheese, salad etc and everyone (non-Nepalese friends) LOVED chukauni.
To make chukauni, these are few key ingredients.
- Potatoes : waxy potatoes, those lower in starch such as new potatoes, fingerling potatoes, or red potatoes are best for making potato salad as they hold their shape well.
- Yogurt : plain, full-fat or low-fat or Greek yogurt will work just fine.
- Mustard oil : you can certainly make chukauni without mustard oil but I love that distinctive pungency from mustard oil here. A little bit goes a long way.
- Fenugreek seed: tempering at the end is a great way to build flavors and bring everything together. chukauni calls for fenugreek seeds & turmeric being tempered at the very end. If desired, you can add cumin and dried red chilies too.
Both mustard oil and fenugreek seed can be purchased at most Southeast Asian grocery stores. You will notice that mustard oil has "For External Use Only" Label - I am linking an article from my friend Nik Sharma for further reading if you are concerned/want more info on this.
Once you have gathered ingredients, making chukauni is an easy, one-bowl recipe + tempering at the end. If you are hosting or heading to a bqq, potluck or picnic this Summer, I really hope you will give chukauni a try. The video I am sharing below is 5 years old from my facebook live and the recipe is from my friend Ruchi.