The lent season is on and yes, we (read I, me and Renee) are taking it. :-P. I’ve been taking it continuously for the past 6 years now, except for the year in between when I had just given birth to Aaron, my son. My family (parents n brothers) have NEVER taken the lent. Mom wants to, but then, her reasons to not too are many. My dad and brother prefers non-vegetarian and needs it all meals, how to make Veg. for one person, and so on. But the most important is – inspite of her eating, there’s always food left-over (Dad n bro can be picky and choosy most days and they both don’t like leftovers!) which will find its way to the trash can, and THAT is a bigger sin than not taking lent, esp. when there are so many hungry mouths in this world. True.
I’m lucky in that way, my husband though he prefers non-veg, he doesn’t mind vegetarian at all. Infact, like I mentioned before, Palak and Peas are his favorites. And he doesn’t mind left over either (I actually don’t give him a choice). But it’s not like I starve them of their favourite non-vegetarian meals, just because I’m on lent. Very often, I cook meat and fish for them both, esp. since both has a lot of proteins in it which is good for the growing toddler. But yea, vegetarian meals are now a more frequent visitor to the dinner table.
Anyway, couple of days back when I went to the grocery store, to stock up on my vegetables, I found these amazingly cute-looking baby potatoes, that I just couldn’t resist picking them up. Immediately, I knew I was going to make Dum Aloo, because I didn’t want to make a dish where I sacrifice on the shape of these little darlings.
Dum Aloo can be literally translated into Pressure(Dum)cooked potatoes(Aloo). This is really popular in North india and is traditionally a Kashmiri delicacy, in thick gravy. I don’t know if this is the authentic way of making dum aloo but I can surely tell you it tastes as good as that and it’s really simple. I don’t actually cook the dum aloo in dum, because I just cover it with a lid and cook on low flame for a good some time, so that the potatoes can absorb the gravy. But don’t worry I’ll tell you how to dum cook it too! 🙂
What you’ll need to make delicious Dum Aloo.
- Baby potatoes – 25-30 i.e.abt 400 grams( if you don’t have baby potatoes, you can use normal potatoes cut into chunks)
- Onion Paste of 3 large onions (I just grated them on the smallest blade of a hand grater)
- Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
- Tomatoes, pureed – 3
- Cumin seeds -1 teaspoon
- Asafoetida – a pinch
- Chopped coriander leaves – 1 handful
- Cashewnuts – 1 handful
- Milk – 1/2 cup ( or else 2 tablespoon cream)
- Oil for frying and sauteing
For Masala: roast all of the below n grind in a grinder.
- Cardamoms – 2
- Black Peppercorns – 10
- Coriander Seeds – 1 tablespoon
- Caraway Seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
- Cloves – 3
- Cinnamon – one small piece
- Bay leaf – 1
- Jeera – 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder – 1 tablespoon
- Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Garam masala powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Peel, wash and prick potatoes all over with the help of a fork or a knife. Put them in salted water for fifteen minutes. (I put them in hot salted water so that the potatoes cook a little too while it’s absorbing the salt, thus reducing the amount of time I need to fry them in oil).
Meanwhile, you can roast all the spices mentioned for the masala and then grind it with a pinch of salt. Also, grind the cashewnuts. Keep both the masala and cashew paste aside.
Next, heat enough oil in a wok and deep fry the potatoes on medium-high flame for about 7-8 minutes or till the potatoes turn golden brown (don’t lower the flame, else the potatoes will absorb the oil). Drain them on a kitchen paper towel and keep aside.
In another pan, take a little of the same oil that we fried the potatoes and heat it. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida. To this, add the onion paste, ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the onion turns light golden . Then, add tomato paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes or till the tomatoes fry nicely and leaves the corners of the pan. By now, you should be able to see all the paste sticking together.
Now, add the paste, salt and saute for another minute. And then, add the cashew paste to this. Add a little water to this whole mixture and let it cook well for about a minute so all the spices and the cashews lose its raw smell and taste.
Add fried potatoes and stir to mix well and cook for two minutes. Then add some more water to get a gravy consistency, mix well and let it come to a boil. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or till the potatoes absorb the gravy.
Pour half a glass of milk or cream 2 minutes before switching off the flame. Remove from heat and serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves.
Your Dum Aloo is ready to eat.
Now if you want to cook it in the DUM style:
After you add the fried potatoes, and the water comes to a boil. Take 2-3 balls of chapathi dough (prepared by kneading atta/wheat flour and water) and roll into cylindrical shapes and seal the space between the lid and pan. This is done so that no steam escapes from the pan. Cook on low flame for about 20 minutes or till the dough gets cooked completely. after that, switch off the flame, remove the dough, add milk/cream, and chopped coriander leaves.