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.

Hasselback Potatoes With Garlic Butter And Herbs


 

Baked potatoes are my favorite and these beauties top the list. Though there are numerous ways to bake potatoes I love the shape of Hasselback or the accordion potatoes as they are called. For a long time a wondered why they were called Hasselback as they are totally hassle free to make but then someone told the history. You will find it on internet too.

This Swedish version of baked potatoes, with their slices fanned out like the feathers of some exotic bird or the expanded bellows of an accordion.

One can use a many variations of stuffing and seasonings, herbs to make these or keep them simple by just sprinkling salt and coarsely pounded black peppercorns. You can add lemon zest or sneak in ham, bacon, spinach, chives or any other stuff that fancies you. Load it up with cheese of any sort but Parmesan, Cheddar or a mix of your favorites.

The fun thing is that you can make them as per your taste and adjust the ingredients to your choice.

Crispy from outside and tender from inside these delicious baked potatoes can be made with any  variety of potato that is available in your local market though the recipes may call for specific ones. You can use large ones or small ones as per your liking.

I usually keep the skin as it tastes awesome and also gives the desired crispiness to the hasselback but here I am using the peeled ones.

I love the use of roasted garlic where ever possible but here I have used them raw.

To make these mouthwatering baked potatoes you will need,

Ingredients – 

Potatoes – 6 medium small

Butter – 4 tablespoon (I used salted)

Olive oil – 1 tablespoon ( I used a herbed one from Ottimo, at West View, ITC Sheraton)

Fresh cracked black peppercorns – 6-8

Garlic ( roasted or raw) – 4-5 medium cloves ( finely chopped)

Fresh herb of your choice

Seasoning of your choice ( dried herbs, oregano, etc) I used Ottimo’s Italian herb mix Seasoning in some.

Salt to taste

Cheese of your choice ( optional)

Steps –

  1. Choose potatoes with clean, unblemished skin, wash and peel ( if you do not wish to retain skin, If retaining then pat dry completely so the moisture is all absorbed and keep aside. Hasselback Potatoes taste best with skin though.
  2.  Pre heat the oven to 200 degree Celsius or 420 degree Fahrenheit.
  3. Put the peeled potatoes in a pan full of water so the potatoes don’t brown.
  4. You can par boil the potatoes till they are just tender enough for the fork to go in when pricked. (optional)
  5. In a bowl melt the butter to room temperature and beat it with a spoon. You can microwave for 2 seconds for it to melt completely. Add the olive oil to it and mix. Mixing these two give a nice flavor to the potatoes.
  6. Finely chop the fresh herbs and garlic. You can slice the garlic fine. If using roasted garlic, roast it in the oven or gas stove and then slice/chop. I love garlic so put a little more than usual, you can cut it down or omit if you wish.
  7. Mix the fresh herbs, a little salt & pepper and chopped / dices garlic in the butter + oil mix and mix them well to make a smooth garlic and herb infused butter.

( I do the steps 5-7 a few hours before making the Hasselback so that the garlic and herbs release all their flavor in the butter oil mix.)

8. Line a oven proof dish or baking tin with aluminium foil / parchment paper  and smear it with some herb infused butter.

9. To prepare the potatoes, dab the peeled potatoes dry, cut a very thin slice for the base so that the potato doesn’t roll over and rest it in a serving spoon. This will ensure that you don’t cut through the whole potato till the end.

10. Now slice the potato till the knife hits the edge of the spoon. You can make as thin or thick slices as you wish. Repeat with all the remaining potatoes. (I have no knife skills so this is the best way to ensure nice, equal thin cuts)

11. Smear half of the prepared butter mix all over the potatoes. gently push the butter, garlic, fresh herbs in the crevices with a sharp knife but don’t push to hard. We will add more at half way through the baking.

12. Arrange the potatoes in the baking dish and sprinkle salt and cracked black pepper generously. Using freshly cracked pepper gives this dish a unique rich spicy flavor which is not achieved by the powdered pepper. If you have used salted butter like I did then go easy on extra salt.

13. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake the potatoes for at least 20 minutes. You can grill them too.

14. Take out the baking dish and baste the potatoes with more of the butter or just olive oil. Make sure it goes well into the layers as it will help the layers to spread open.

15.  At this point the slices will begin to fan out in an arch so do insert the extras like ham, bacon, cheese or whatever you choose carefully between the layers. take the help of the knife to carefully nudge the layers open a bit for stuffing.

16. Bake for another 30-40 minutes or till the outside it crispy brown and the flesh is tender soft. Pierce the potato between the layers to check if the potato is done.

Your baking time may vary with the size of potatoes.

Serve is immediately wit ha dip of your choice. I use sour cream or hung curd sip which is my favorite. Will post the recipe soon.

Baked hasselback is best had hot.

 

You can adjust the ingredients to your requirements for 1 or many hasselback potatoes, it is that versatile.

Make it simple or fancy as per your mood for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes : Spicy Roasted Potatoes


I love potatoes; you can spin magic with this simple veggie. Roasted potatoes are my favorite and the aroma arising from a potato roasted over a campfire can make our mouth water even as you read about it. Roasting any vegetable brings out its natural sweetness.

I love to eat the basic roasted potato with just pepper and salt but one can experiment with various spices and churn out some exotic wonders.

Potatoes are healthy and are loaded with carbohydrates, vitamin B, C, potassium and protein, fiber and iron. The amazing thing is they can keep you slim. They are low in sodium, virtually fat free and easy to digest.

If you are creative and imaginative, the choices are unlimited for cooking potatoes. Trivia facts affirm that potatoes are second in human consumption only to rice. I am not surprised. Eating your potato right can actually help build muscle, and lose weight.

Here are two great recipes for roasted potatoes from my kitchen and I am all of you will love to have them more than once.

1. SPICY OVEN-ROASTED POTATOES

These potatoes are crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. The key is to have them at just the right size, coated with just enough oil, and roasted in a red-hot oven.

INGREDIENTS

1/8 cup Olive oil

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. Dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. Dried dill weed

1/2 tsp. Dried thyme

1/2 tsp. Dry Oregano

1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley

1/2tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 tsp. salt

4 large Potatoes, peeled and cubed

METHOD

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).

In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, basil, marjoram, dill weed, thyme, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir in potatoes until evenly coated. (You can use a zip lock bag for mixing all the ingredients by putting all the herbs and potatoes in it and rubbing it nicely from the outside).

Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet.

Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.

Remove from oven and serve with lime wedges.

2. GRILL ROASTED SPICY POTATOES


Ingredients:

Six Even Size Potatoes

1tbsp. approx.15ml olive oil

1 tbsp. roasted Garlic 15ml

1 cup shredded Mozzarella 250ml

180 ml – Salsa Sauce

1 cup approx. 250ml- Dairy Sour Cream

1/4 cup -chive cut into 16cm pieces as garnish

1 tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno chili

Ingredients for Roasted Garlic

One head Garlic

Olive Oil

Fresh Thyme

Pepper

Method:

Wash and scrub clean the potatoes well and prick them all over with a fork.
Wrap the potatoes in an aluminum foil.

Preheat the BBQ grill to 300F/150C and roast the potatoes for 40 minutes or until tender. (Check with a toothpick) Remove potatoes from grill, unwrap, and slice them in half.

Scoop the flesh out of the potatoes leaving approximately inch (1.27cm) of the flesh around the sides and allow cooling.

Brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or any other spices and herbs of your choice.

Place the spiced up potatoes on well-oiled preheated medium high grill for 8 minutes flesh side down or until golden and crispy. Remove when done.

Lay the potato, skins out in a row, and drop a dollop of bottled (or home made) salsa in each one followed by sour cream and chopped jalapeno and roasted garlic.

Add shredded mozzarella cheese and top up with chopped chives.

To Make Roasted Garlic


Remove top of garlic exposing just the top and prick the top with a fork.

Drizzle with olive oil and pepper, fresh thyme and wrap in foil.

Place them over low heat on a preheated BBQ and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until tender.

Remove from heat, peel a clove and smash with a fork.

Serve hot with lime edges.

Some Tips:

It is essential to have the oven fully preheated for proper cooking if you are making roasted potatoes at home.

Whether you are roasting whole potatoes or potato cubes, the size should uniformed. I prefer baby potatoes as they as easy to eat and look wonderful.
Use potatoes that are fairly clean, firm and smooth and avoid those with wilted, wrinkled skin, soft dark areas, cut surfaces or slightly greenish in appearance.

One can use many combination of herbs and spices like rosemary, theme, basil, parsley, pepper, marjoram, garlic, and fenugreek, crushed dried curry leaves or roasted cumin etc.

Use olive oil for spraying the potatoes for best results.

You can add veggies like roasted bell pepper, corn, onions as add ons with the basic roasted potatoes.

Enjoy the goodness of potatoes and spice up your life with these spicy tangy recipes.