Banarasi Ras Wale Aaloo Aur Poori


A simple yet flavorful potato curry recipe from Banaras. This is traditionally eaten with Bedmi kachori or poori. It also brings fond memories of the station ke aaloo poori which I still relish during my train travels. Travelling by train meant preparing poories and aaloo subzi either dry or raswali. Everything was neatly packed with pickle and some other snacks and sweets. Later, when I discovered the joy of station wali aaloo poori and everything changed. We gorged on the hot spicy curry with pooris and never once bothered about the dripping oil. The taste was unique at each station.

In Haridwar I discovered dubki wale aaloo which were served with poori or kachori or bedmi poori. Another variation that is lip smacking.

This particular raswale aaloo is made at our home very often. A simple soul food with the flavor of spices that tickle your tongue as you eat. It balances the oily poori in the meal.

In Banaras even the average food stalls have delectable kachori and raswale aaloo. There are some other sabzis also that go with kachori like alloo and kaddu ki sabzi. 

Ingredients :

  • Boiled Potatoes – 4 Medium size
  • Grated Ginger – 1 tablespoon
  • Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Amchoor Powder (Dry Mango Powder) – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Fennel Seeds ( Moti Saunf) roasted – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Banarasi Rai ( Small Mustard seeds) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chopped Fresh Coriander Greens – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard Oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Water – 2-3 Cups

Step :

  1. Wash and boil the potatoes in pressure cooker. Once they are done, take them out, peel the skin and roughly break them with hand. Keep aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the powdered spices except salt. Add grated ginger to it and 2-3 tablespoons of water. Mix properly to make a paste.
  3. Heat a pan and add mustard oil to it. Bring it to smoke and reduce the heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds and asafoetida and just as the seeds crackle add the fennel seeds and the spice paste.
  5. Stir it and let it cook till the oil separates.
  6. Now add the broken potatoes and stir to coat them uniformly.
  7. Add 2-3 cups of water and salt. Mash the potatoes with the back of the ladle.
  8. Let it curry boil for five to ten minutes or till the desired consistency is achieved.
  9. Check for the spice and salt levels and add more if needed.
  10. Once done, turn of the gas and ladle the spicy Banarasi raswale aaloo in a serving dish.
  11. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves.
  12. Traditionally the vegetable has a thin gravy. The kachori or poori is dunked in the spicy vegetable curry and eaten.
  13. Serve with hot poori/ kachori and curd/raita.

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.

 

 

 

 

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts With Potato Mash And Apricot Chutney


Now this is what I call comfort food. I love all the three things and make many variations of them but this one is my favorite.Dinner tonight is a complete potpourri of exotic flavours. I usually add different herbs to the marinade or grill/ pan sear the chicken without yogurt too. One can get creative with it and have many versions of the same dish. Chicken is low-fat and high protein and a perfect dish for light dinners.

Sometimes I make extra marinade and love to use it as a thick sauce that wraps the succulent chicken breasts. These fillets can be served on their own or with any condiment like the spicy sweet and tangy Apricot Chutney I made yesterday. Click on name for the recipe. It tastes yummy with the chicken.

Make sure to pound the breasts to get it grilled nicely and evenly so they don’t dry out and stay tender.

To make pan grilled/seared chicken breasts you will need

Boneless juicy chicken breasts – 2 ( clean and pounded evenly 1/2 inch thickness)

Marinade 

You can either marinade the breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and lots of herbs, garlic and salt. Place it all in a ziplock bag and rub it properly so the flavours get infused as it rests for at least  2-4 hours. I sometimes keep it even longer. Use cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary or any other herb of your choice.

For the Spiced yogurt marinade you need:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 table-spoon Olive Oil ( I used extra virgin)

2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix herbs ( powder or fresh or both)

Salt to taste

Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 6-7

Garlic pods – 5 crushed and roughly chopped

Red chilli flakes – 1/4 teaspoon or less

Lemon Zest – a little

Butter – 1 tablespoon

Prepare to grill/Sear  

Whisk together yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed peppercorns and herbs. you can add a little powdered black pepper too. (I do)

Add the pounded chicken breasts and thoroughly coat them with the marinade,  Place the chicken with the marinade in ziplock bag or Tupperware box for a few hours. I keep it overnight in the fridge too or at least four hours.

You must make cuts in the chicken to let the marinade absorb into it.

When you are about to grill/sear, take the chicken out and let it come to room temperature if it was in the fridge.

Heat a skillet or a pan. Add olive oil and a dash of butter and coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot place the chicken breasts gently and pour the marinade over the fillets.

Cover for ten minutes on medium flame and then cook uncovered on high flame. Turn them over once nice crispy golden brown from one side. To check if the chicken is evenly cooked, make a cut in the thick part. If the knife smoothly cuts it then its done.

Keep stirring the marinade in the pan and tossing it over the chicken. If you are making with the sauce keep some marinade separately and once you take out the chicken in plate, Pour the remaining marinade in the pan and cook it till nice, thick and brown. Pour the rich pan sauce on the seared breasts when you serve. Keep the pan covered on very low heat for sometime to let the juices and flavours seep in. Dont keep lifting the lid to peek. 🙂

Turn off the heat and let the chicken breasts sit for another ten minutes in the pan before laying them on the serving plate.

Make the mashed potatoes along so the full meal is ready at the same time. You can steam some greens too. or perhaps some corncob. It goes very well with the chicken dish.

The best way to know if you are doing it right it to keep your sense awake. If it smells, looks, tastes good then you are doing it right. All the brown bits that stick to the pan give the flavour. We will use them while making mashed potato.

For the Potato Mash 

4 potatoes – medium size

Salt and crushed pepper corns ( to taste)

A few herbs maybe

I love garlic so a few pods of garlic skinned and crushed

Salted Butter – 1 table-spoon ( if using salted butter go easy on table salt. I use sea salt too)

Method:

Wash and boil the potatoes till tender. Peal and mash them properly so no lumps stay.

In the same pan in which we made chicken sprinkle a little olive oil and butter. ( there will be enough fat in it already and those gorgeous flavourful brown bits sticking to the pan)

Scrap the brown bits so they release the flavour in the oil , add the crushed garlic and stir till light golden brown. Keep the heat low.

Mix salt pepper to the mashed potatoes and toss the mix into the pan.Let it sizzle for a few seconds and turn over so all the brown chicken sauce etc sticking to the pan and clean it. Turn the heat off and remove the mashed potatoes a bowl.

If vegan , you can take a different pan and use just olive oil to brown the garlic and potatoes. or infuse the oil with roasted garlic and add to the mashed potatoes. Works well either ways.

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To assemble: 

Take a serving plate and place a good helping of mashed potatoes, arrange the seared chicken breasts to one side of it and place a generous portion of Apricot chutney on top of the hot chicken. If you wish you can add some greens, boiled corncob , toasted bread with cheese etc. Or just eat the chicken and potato mash with chutney.

Hope some of you will try this recipe and let me know your views.  The chicken and mash are delicious on its own too.

These mashed potatoes do not use any milk or cream and even butter can be replaced with just olive oil to make it pure vegan. I used the garlic infused fat that was left in the pan after making grilled chicken to slightly brown the mashed potatoes and give it a unique flavour.

Bon Appetit