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.

Recipe: Butter Chicken : The Gastronomical Delight of India


Butter Chicken can be easily called the National Dish of India as far as non vegetarian cuisine goes. Sinfully laced with oodles of butter, rich cream, thick tomato gravy and spices, this Indian gastronomical delight is extremely popular all over the country and even abroad.

Butter chicken was “invented” at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi in the 1950’s.

Tandoori chicken, cooked in famous tandoors (clay ovens embedded in earth) brought to Delhi and other cities by Hindu refugees fleeing from the Northwest Punjab after the creation of West Pakistan, is the main ingredient of this dish. Butter chicken is actually made with leftover tandoori chicken, cut into small pieces, and simmered in a rich, creamy sauce of tomatoes, butter and spices topped up with extra cream.

Being a hotelier’s wife I have some advantages and this is a personal recipe for this mouthwatering delicacy.

BUTTER CHICKEN

For the Marinade:

800 grams of chicken cut into pieces (preferably boneless)

1 tablespoon thick yogurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin and red chili powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ginger, garlic paste

Salt to taste

A few drops of edible orange-red color

For the Gravy

4 large tomatoes chopped [blanched and finely chopped]

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 cup cashew nut paste

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 green chilies finely chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh cream

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin, red chili powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

Salt and sugar to taste

Melted butter, fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

Method

Prick holes and make cuts in the chicken pieces. Mix well the ingredients for the marinade and rub into the chicken pieces. Let it marinate for a few hours, overnight if possible for best results.

Heat half the butter on medium level in a heavy-bottomed pan and put in the chicken along with the marinade. Cover and cook for about 25 minute(s) or till the chicken is fully cooked. After the liquids have evaporated, stir fry the chicken for some time in the residual fat.

For gravy

Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan and add onion and green chilies. Fry for a few minutes.

Add the ginger garlic paste mix well now add little water and red chilly, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder mix well

Add chopped tomatoes and cook well now add cashew nut paste and season with sugar, salt and cook uncovered on medium level for about 5 minutes till the puree thickens and the fat separates.

Stir in the beaten cream and reduce the heat to low.

Add the chicken Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the curry is thoroughly heated through.

Check for seasoning.

Just before serving pour melted butter over the curry. Garnish with a swirl of fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy with fresh rice or Parathas (Fried Indian flat bread)