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.

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.