Thursday, June 12, 2014

Aloor Dom (bengali Dum Aloo)

Aloor Dom (Bengali Dum Aloo) 

The truth is the same dish is prepared in a number of ways across this vast country called. India. Take the simple Dum Aloo. A dry potato gravy which is served across North India. Now Bengal is in the East of India but when The Nawab of Awadh relocated to our lovely state he brought along with him the delightful cuisine that is Awadhi cuisine and so the influence of North India can be seen in many of the dishes from this Lush green state yet it has its own distinct taste. For one, our dishes are much more subtle . Now to be fair even among families in Bengal there are different recipes followed for a dish . So while my paternal Grandmother puts in curry leaves , my Mimi (the perfect culinary wizardess) from whom I learnt msot of my Bengali dishes keeps it rather traditional using her mother's recipe.

Now Mimi herself is a young 65 year old and this recipe handed down from her mother would definitely make it a heritage one. Taste as we all know is subjective. So for some this might seem too subtle while some would find it delightful. I myself quite obviously love it enough to make it my one and only Bengali Aloor Dom. What gives this its distinct taste is the absence of onions and garlic.

Serves 3 to 4

6 medium sized Potatoes halved

The wet spices

Ginger chili cumin paste (made with 5 green chilies , 1 inch ginger and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds)
5 tbsp Tomato paste (I required 1 large tomato)
1/4th cup whisked curd

The dry spices

Pinch of asafoetida aka hing
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green cardamom given a light pounding
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
Salt as per taste
Pinch of turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
1 cup water (200ml)

1/4th cup mustard oil for frying the potatoes
2 tbsp ghee

For garnishing

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
2 slit green chilies

Start by making the green chili ginger cumin paste, then make your tomato paste and parboil the potatoes with their skin on. Once cool enough to handle peel them and heat the mustard oil and fry the potatoes on medium heat till they turn a lovely golden colour but do not brown them. Drain them and keep aside. You will be left with the mustard oil which you can use for other dishes. Now heat the ghee and add the asafoetida and then add the cumin seeds and when they splutter immediately add the ginger green chili cumin paste and saute for 2 minutes and add the tomato paste and saute till the oil separates and add the whisked curd and keep stirring on high heat. This constant stirring prevents the curd from splitting. Now add the water and bring to a boil stirring constantly and then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes and add the potatoes and bring to a boil again and then simmer for another 10 minutes to 15 minutes till you get a thick gravy. Now many people like ti completely dry but since we usually pair Aloor Dom with Luchi ( a special fried puffed up flatbread from Bengal)  , it helps to have a bit of gravy to dip the puffed up fried poori in. And then again taste is subjective. So do what would best suit you. Garnish and serve


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