Recipe – Punjabi Dum Aloo


 

Since the time I came back from my son’s home I had been craving for the scrumptious food he was feeding me. I am also constant thinking of all the dishes learned from various people during my travel or visit to friends’ homes. It’s been tough lately and cooking has been therapeutic just as painting and writing has been. I am trying to keep myself gainfully occupied and eat healthy too. Many times nostalgia makes me prepare dishes I haven’t made in years. I miss my boys and our time together. I miss normal life and the time I lost struggling to find myself while making peace with others at the same time.  Often this is how I feel :

So many roads.
So many detours.
So many choices.
So many mistakes.
So many crossroads.
So many endings.
So many beginnings.
I have truly “lived”
But Now
I have a feeling my soul is spent
and I have nothing more to give to the world.

Then, when the moment passes I think of the food I love, the people who so generously fed it to me and taught me the process and I count my privilege and my blessings.

Dum Aloo is love in whichever way it is cooked from Kashmiri, Bengali to Banarasi but there is something about this Punjabi Aloo Dum that I find hard to resist. It is a favorite. Again, I would never eat this in a restaurant. I find it very heavy to digest and avoid bI have had extremely delicious aloo dum while visiting a few Punjabi friends. Here is a recipe learned from someone long ago. The texture is beautiful, it has a medley of flavors and my favorite kasoori methi. Like garlic this is one of my go to ingredients for many dishes. Baby potatoes deep or shallow fried and added to a rich creamy gravy is love at first sight. Kasoori methi gives takes its taste to another level. Pair it with hot naans, tandoori roti or just plain phulka and you’ve got a winner. 

Here’s how I make it

Ingredients : 

10-15 – Baby potatoes or big potatoes cut evenly in equal size cubes

1- Large Onion Pureed

1-2 – Large Tomatoes Pureed

4 tablespoon- Whisked Thick Yogurt

1 Pinch – Asafoetida

1 tbsp – Ginger Garlic Paste

1 tsp – Coriander Powder

1 tsp – Red Chili Powder

1 tsp – Cumin Seeds

1 tsp – coriander Seeds

1 Black Cardamom Pod

3-4 – cloves

1/4 tsp – Turmeric Powder

1 tsp – Kashmiri Chili Powder

1/2 tsp – Kasuri Methi or dry fenugreek leaves ( toasted and crushed)

1/2 tsp – Garam Masala

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1/2 tsp

Mustard Oil for shallow frying

6-8 – Cashew Nuts ( Optional. I seldom use them)

Chopped fresh coriander green greens for garnish

Method : 

Wash, pat dry and par boil the baby potatoes in water in which a little salt is added.

Peel, prick them with a fork and shallow fry them in hot mustard oil that’s been already smoked. Set these aside.

Grind the whole spices into a dry mix and set aside.

In the same pan add heat a few teaspoons of oil and add a pinch of asafoetida and cumin seeds. When they crackle add onion puree and saute it till light brown then add ginger, garlic paste and stir again. Once the rawness goes away add the powdered masalas ( except garam masala ) and roast for a minute keeping the flame low so that they don’t burn.

Add tomato puree and saute till the water evaporates ans the masala cooks properly. Add salt and beaten yogurt stirring continuously so that the yogurt doesn’t curdle.

Cook this wet masala on low heat till oil begins to separate then add the fried baby potatoes and mix well so that the potatoes get evenly covered with the masala.

Some people add cashew nut paste to this one I don’t.

Let the potatoes simmer in the masala for two minutes or so. Sprinkle kasoori methi and garam amsala evenly and mix. Keep a little to drizzle over the dish later if you wish.

Add chopped coriander greens. I prefer to add them while the dish is cooking as it imparts a flavor to the dish. Adding at the last stage or as a garnish doesn’t achieve its purpose. I also use the tender stems with leaves.

Add 3/4 cups of warm water to the dish and stir nicely to bring it to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for another few minutes till you achieve the desired consistency of the gravy. I prefer it thick enough to be scooped up with a piece of naan or kulcha. You can serve it with good steamed basmati rice too.

Let the Dum Aloo stay in the covered pan for ten minutes and then spoon it in the serving dish. Sprinkle a pinch or two of kasuri methi as garnish if you wish. Have it hot with the Indian breads of your choice.

Dahi wale Aaloo ( Spiced Potatoes In A Tempered Yogurt Gravy)


I learned to make these at my in-laws’ house. Whatever our differences, my MIL is a great cook. During merciless summer of North India this was one of the dishes that was made often. Quick to make and light on stomach we had it with poori, roti, paratha or even rice at times. Another variation was Rehru, a typical Himachali dish made from yogurt. Just the tempering and beaten yogurt added to it wit ha little water. So refreshing and good to eat as  main dish or as an accompaniment. .

I love dishes from from curd. especially in summers. Be it Kadhi chawal, that heavenly comfort food, or zeerya miryachi kadhi or just plain, chach, lassi, or dahi. You can find my Kadhi Chawal recipe here.

Dahi wale aaloo is very easy to make and requires very little preparation so you don’t need to spend hours in the hot kitchen. Mostly the traditional recipe from UP and Punjab requires the boiled potatoes to be lightly broken instead of cubed, one can make it either way. You can make it during fasting days and use black pepper instead of red chili powder or simply use green chilies to spice it up. Chilies are good for health so use them in your meals. This recipe uses no onion, no garlic.

Ingredients :

Boiled Potatoes – 3

Beaten Slightly Sour Yogurt – 1 cup

Cumin seeds ( zeera) – 1/2

Coriander seeds (Sabut Dhania) – 1/2 teaspoon

Asafoetida (Hing) – 2 pinch

Fennel seeds ( moti saunf) – 1/2 tespoon (optional)

Fresh coriander greens –  For garnish

Ghee (clarified butter)  – 1 tablespoon

Green chilies – 1-2

Ginger julienne – 1/2 teaspoon  (1 inch)

Salt – to taste

Turmeric Powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Red Chili Powder – 1/4 teaspoon (Alternate with freshly ground black pepper powder i desired)

Steps 

Wash and boil the potatoes.  Peel and roughly break them with fingers. A few pieces should be mashed too. You can just cube them into small pieces also.

Whisk  the yogurt with 1.5 or 2 cups of water to make a thick buttermilk. Add the curry leaves to it and keep aside. ( I add some leaves to the dahi and rest to the tempering. It gives the dish a unique flavor.

In a heavy bottom pan or wok add the ghee and heat it till medium hot.

Now add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, curry leaves ( if using) , asafoetida powder.

When the seeds start to crackle add slit or chopped green chilies.

Stir fry for a second and then remove from flame and add all the ground spices.

Stir well and  immediately add ginger and potatoes. Mix it well and put it back on flame to cook till they brown a bit. Keep the flame low so that the potatoes don’t stick to the pan.

At this point, slowly add the buttermilk while stirring continuously till it comes to a boil.

Switch off the gas and garnish this gentle curry with freshly chopped green coriander leaves.

Serve hot with zeera rice, roti, bedami poori or simple poori. I sometimes make a large bowl of it and eat it without any breads or rice.

Tip – Add a teaspoon of besan if you are afraid of yogurt splitting.  You can also remove the cooked potato mix from flame and then slowly add the buttermilk. Stir till everything is incorporated properly. Put it back on very low heat for a minute and take it off stove to serve.

Use whole red chilies in tempering if you wish. I also make it with baby potatoes and give it dum. Dum wale aaloo  have a different taste and take longer to make. I add onion, garlic etc to that.

Enjoy this light, mildly seasoned potato yogurt curry any time of the day.