March 21, 2014

Dum Aloo (Golden fried potatoes simmered in spiced yogurt)

You are a a projection of your parents - I believe this is so true in every sense...How you behave, your food preferences, your lifestyle, how you dress, your spirituality everything that constitutes "you" is almost always directly proportional to your parents and upbringing. This might be a crazy notion but I was recently left pondering about my cooking style and how dishes that come out of my kitchen are so much like my mom's! Even though we hail from southern India, my mom always tries her hand at a variety of north Indian and international recipes. 

My dad served the Indian Air Force and was posted at various states across India and hence my mom had friends from various regional backgrounds, which did influence her cooking style.

I still remember her making Dum Aloo that was finger licking good and my sister and I used to love it. When my sister heard that I had made this dish last week she immediately went and bought some baby potatoes and cooked some for her family. The recipe here is similar to my mom's but I have adapted some tips from Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe in which he grinds dry red chillies to impart a beautiful color and flavor to this dish. Garlic is not typically used in Dum Aloo but my mom used to add it and I have also followed suit here because I love the flavor. This dish also works out equally well without it so feel free to opt out of this step. 

Another special ingredient that I have used here is Black Cardamom which has a completely different flavor profile compared to its green counterpart. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma are derived from traditional methods of drying over open flames and I just love it in  north Indian dishes. If you haven't used this before I highly recommend it. 

This dish derives its name from the technique used to cook it. Dum refers to the traditional way of slow cooking in sealed dishes to retain the quality of spices and the aroma from them. Aloo is nothing but potatoes in Hindi (India's national language)

The potatoes are deep fried to a nice golden color and then simmered in a deliciously spiced yogurt gravy. This is a truly addictive dish - mark my words!!! ;)
Ok- without further ado I present to you gorgeous Dum Aloo

1.5 pounds (680 grams) - Baby potatoes
5 - Kashmiri dry red chilly
3 Clove - Garlic
2 Cups - Yogurt
3 Teaspoon - Fennel Powder/ Saunf
1 Teaspoon - Dry Ginger Powder
1/4 Teaspoon - Black cardamon powder
1/2 Teaspoon - Cumin powder
1 Teaspoon - Paprika or Kashmiri chilly powder (optional)
1/8 Tsp - Asafetida
1 Tablespoon - Ghee
1/2 Teaspoon - Garam Masala
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying the potatoes
To Garnish
Cilantro/ Coriander Leaves
Slivered almonds

Serves 4-6
  • Wash the baby potatoes and cook them in the pressure cooker just for a few minutes. Make sure not to overcook them otherwise they will not retain their shape during further cooking
  • Peal the potatoes sprinkle some salt and keep them aside
  • Take a wok/kadai and heat the oil for deep frying the potatoes.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes and fry them until they are golden brown.
  • Add the dry red chilly and garlic in a blender and grind them into a smooth paste
  • In a bowl add yogurt, chilly paste from above, fennel powder, dry ginger powder, black cardamom powder, cumin powder, and paprika(optional) and whisk.
  • Heat ghee in a wok/kadai that has a lid.
  • Lower the heat and add asafetida, followed by the spiced yogurt mixture and fried potatoes
  • Season with salt and cover the wok/kadai with the lid. Traditional method involved sealing the dish with dough.You can do it if you have the time but it is optional.
  • Open the lid and sprinkle garam masala.
  • Serve with Roti, Naan or Rice
Notes and Tips
  • Paprika or Kashmiri chilly powder is just for the red color. It is optional
  • Traditionally garlic is not used in this dish but I love the flavor it imparts to this dish so I have used it. You can opt it out
  • Buy uniform sized baby potatoes to ensure that they cook evenly
  • I love the taste of black cardamon. Black Cardamon has got a completely different flavor profile compared to its green counterpart. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes due to its smoky flavor. It derives it's flavor and aroma from the traditional methods of drying over open flames. It should be available in Asian/ Indian stores.


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