Kolkata Street Aloo Dum

Have you ever tried the spicy and tangy aloo dum from phuchkawala in Kolkata? It is one of the spiciest thing you can ever eat. The heat from chilies and sour taste of the tamarind pulp mixed with the just well done baby potatoes, makes this street food one of my favorite. As I am writing this post, I am literally salivating remembering the paper plate full of fingerlicking good  baby potatoes aloo dum on my last trip to Kolkata.


Potatoes have a special place in every Bengali’s heart. The comforting aloo chokha (Bengali version of mashed potatoes) or half cut potatoes in kansha mangsho (spicy mutton curry) – we like our potatoes anywhere and everywhere. But when it comes to aloo dum – it is like a Christmas in summer. The Kolkata street style aloo dum is a favorite everywhere whether it’s a side for luchi on a Sunday morning or an accompaniment with alcohol on a Friday night party. Try this recipe and you’ll know what I mean. You can also serve this aloo dum on phuchka to make alu dum phuchka, load it with loads of green chilies, cilantro and dash of tamarind pulp. I have adapted this recipe from Ishita’s Kolkata style spicy baby potatoes.


Kolkata Style Aloo Dum
Serves 4
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 1 lb boiled baby potatoes
  2. 2 - 3 big bay leaves
  3. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  5. 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  6. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  9. ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  10. 2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  11. ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  12. 1 teaspoon rock salt
  13. Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
  14. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, coarsely grounded
  15. 2 - 3 green chilies, coarsely chopped, optional
  16. 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  17. Salt to taste
  18. ½ teaspoon sugar, optional
  1. Mix a pinch of turmeric powder, salt and sugar, if using with the baby potatoes. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, and fry the potatoes till they start turning slightly brown about 3 minutes. Take out of the pan and keep aside
  2. In the same pan add the chopped onions and bay leaves and fry till the onion is almost done, about 5 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic paste and fry for another 2 -3 minutes, or till the oil starts separating
  3. In the meantime, in a small bowl take about ¼ cup water and all the dry spice powder, stir to make a smooth paste. Pour in the spice paste to the fried onion mix and toss for a minute.
  4. Add the reserved baby potatoes and pour in the tamarind paste. Toss to coat. Pour about a cup of water and season with salt, if you are using rock salt then use little less salt than you would use.
  5. Cook on high for about 5 minutes or till the potatoes break once pressed
  6. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped cilantro, green chilies and roasted cumin powder, sprinkle the rock salt and pour in the lime juice
  1. Boil the potatoes skin on and about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Boil till the potatoes are not fully cooked. Once you are able to touch the potatoes, peel the skin off
  2. When serving you can pour another tablespoon of tamarind pulp thinned with water, to get a tangy taste
  3. The spice level mentioned above will yield a mildly spiced aloo dum, if you want more heat add more chili powder to the aloo dum
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/


Kashmiri Dum Aloo

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Even though diabetes is spreading like a plague in India and especially in the Eastern part, we Bengalis are yet to leave the habit of using potatoes. Be that macher jhol-e aloo (potatoes in fish curry) or a simple aloo chokha (mashed potatoes with onion and pepper) potatoes are everywhere. Even though half my family have to take either insulin shots or pills, I couldn’t leave out potatoes from my diet. Potatoes are an integral part of Bengali cuisine.

A Sunday breakfast is never complete without a dose of luchi (fried Indian bread) and aloor dum. And, when it comes to talking about potatoes in Bengali recipes leaving out the oh-so-soft potatoes in mangsher jhol (goat curry) will be like blasphemy. Potatoes are everywhere in Bangali ranna, we like them in almost all our dishes and the aloo posto is a signature dish of Bengal.

Kashmiri Aloo Dum

While other Indian communities do not use potatoes so much, I came across this recipe in a very old cooking magazine long time back. I have searched for Kashmiri recipes for alu dum, but they were all very different. I main reason why I chose to use this old recipe was because they used poppy paste – one of my favorite spices in the kitchen. People from Kashmir are voracious meat eaters and owe them for inventing the famous rogan josh. There are also vegetarian recipes available in Kashmiri cuisine and this aloo dum is one of my favorites.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Indian, Side, Potato, Kashmiri cuisine, Kashmiri alu dum, Aloo dum, Kashmir recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
  • 1 lb baby potatoes
  • 1 medium onion made to paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup poppy seed paste
  • 3 tablespoon cashew paste
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Handful of soaked raisins (optional)
  • Wash the potatoes and boil with peeling the skin for 7 to 10 minutes or till they are almost cooked.
  • Drain the water and let them come to a temperature where you can touch. Peel the potatoes. Sprinle a pinch of turmeric and salt
  • Heat half the oil in a thick bottom vessel and lightly fry the potatoes till there are a few blisters on them.
  • Take out, and keep over a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil
  • Pour in the extra oil and heat. Add the onion paste and fry till the onion is fragrant and oil starts separating. Add all the powdered spices, ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add the potatoes and toss well to coat the spices. Season with salt.
  • Cook while stirring in between till the spices change to a darker color. Pour water and cook till the potatoes are almost done.
  • Add the poppy and cashew paste and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. Sprinkle the ground garam masala and the raisins if using. Serve hot with chapati or white rice.

Aloo dum

Hot Tips – You can also use large potatoes instead of the baby ones. Cut them in quarters and follow the same instructions. I have used ordinary chili powder to have a more spicier taste, but you can also use Kashmiri red chili powder. The Kashmiri chili powder gives an extra color to the recipe and unlike other peppers it is less hot.

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Chal Diye Alu Dum

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Diwali is just round the corner, and we are counting on the days for the D-day. To me Diwali means a lot of crackers, the smell of burnt fireworks around, new clothes and above all a family get together along with a very heavy dinner. I am sure you all have almost the same feeling about this day. Diwali is more of a North Indian festival, celebrated in most parts of the Northern and Western states of the country. Sourthern parts of the country also celebrate this day to mark the empowering of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura. Here in Bengal, Diwali is differently termed and Kali Puja is held during this time of the year. Some people also celebrate this day by worshipping Lakshmi and Ganesh. Durga Puja has gone passed a few weeks back, and Kali Puja marks the end of Hindu festivities for the year.


Goddess Kali is another incarnation of the goddess Durga. According to Hindu mythology, she is the goddess of war. Kali is associated with corpses and war. The most primitive mention of the goddess dates back to the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas. She is called as Goddess Ratri (night in Bengali), and the Veda regards Ratri as the supreme force in the universe. The goddess is considered to have been born from the brow of Devi Durga during one of the wars with the demons. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mêlée mood, standing with one foot on Shiva’s chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out.


The darkness of the new moon night brings about a different spell to the worshipping of the goddess. Kali Puja is generally held at night and continues till dawn. Above all these worship, to me the home coming of all the family members and enjoying themselves together is what matters most. It is the time of celebration. I had been busy all weekend making diyas to gift to my friends and relatives. Here are some of the samples, more of diya making in the following posts.



Today I prepared this alu dum and thought it would just be right choice to put up in our blog for the upcoming festivals. I used baby potatoes for this, you are unable to get those, don’t worry use the large sized potatoes cut into quarters.

Preparation time: 1hr 10min
Cooking time: 20min
Serves: 4
Alu Dum with rice


Baby Potato (Choto alu): ½ kg
Small grain rice (Gonbindhobhog Chal): 2 tablespoon, soaked for an hour
Cumin powder (Jeera guro): 1 ½ teaspoon
Cumin seeds (Gota jeera): 1 teaspoon
Bay leaf (Tej pata): 1 /2
Sugar (Chini): 1 teaspoon
Red chili powder (Lanka guro): 1 teaspoon
Clarified butter (Ghee): 1 tablespoon
Sunflower or vegetable oil (Sada tel): 3 tablespoon
Cinnamon (Daar chini): 1 one inch size
Cardamom (Elaichi): 2-3
Cloves (Labango): 2-3
Ginger paste (Ada bata): 1 teaspoon
Garam masala: ½ teaspoon


  • Peel off the potatoes and half boil them
  • Grind the soaked rice to a rough paste
  • Heat oil in a wok and fry the boiled potatoes till the upper layer changes color
  • Take the potatoes out of flame and keep aside
  • In the left out oil put in the whole cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, bay leaf, sugar and sauté
  • Put in the potatoes and mix well with the whole spices
  • In a small bowl assemble cumin powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, ginger paste and add 3-4 tablespoons of water to make a runny paste, add this to the potatoes  along with the grinded rice and stir well to mix the spices well with the potatoes
  • Sprinkle salt and add 11/2 -2 cups of water and cook covered for 8-10 mins, or till the potatoes are cooked entirely
  • Pour the clarified butter and garam masala and take out of flame
  • Serve hot with paratha or roti

Alu Dum

Further Reading – Baby Potato Curry, Bong Mom’s Dum Alu

Hot Tips –  Dum aloo goes best with luchi in a fine Sunday morning.

Sending the recipe To Priya’s event Diwali 2009 Contest and Diwali Dhamaka hosted by Purva in her blog.

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