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.
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
- 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.
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.