Showing posts with label aloo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aloo. Show all posts

May 7, 2018

Ghurma Aloo (Cumin-Scented Potatoes)

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A ghurma is a thick-sauced, long-simmered spicy stew of Iranian origin. This recipe for Ghurma Aloo is the perfect pairing of potatoes or aloo simmered until tender with earthy cumin and a pinch of red chili for a delicious and beautiful dish. Serve over rice or with naan to scoop up the vibrant sauce.


ghurma aloo, aloo, chili, cilantro, cumin, easy, ghormeh, ghurma, iran, persia, potatoes, Recipe, simple, spicy, indian, iyer,

We don't usually eat potatoes but when the new potatoes show up at market, I make an exception. (It seems a bit redundant to serve potatoes with the rice we eat daily.) There's nothing quite like the delicate flavor and texture of fresh potatoes and this easy recipe perfectly showcases them. This dish is adapted from Raghavan Iyer's 2008 cookbook, 660 Curries: The Gateway to Indian Cooking.


Indian cuisine is heavily influenced by the cooking of ancient Persia. The traditional Persian vegetable stew called ghurma or ghormeh is still a popular dish in Iran today. Many influences of Persia can be found in this recipe. As with most Iranian dishes, this recipe eschews garlic and makes do with onion and tomato for an umami boost. The potatoes are initially fried with turmeric giving them a lovely yellow hue as is typical in Persian cuisine. A generous use of cumin and red chili powder provide the spiciness of the dish. Fresh cilantro or dhania is stirred in at the end for a bit of green brightness - yet another Persian motif.

ghurma aloo, aloo, chili, cilantro, cumin, easy, ghormeh, ghurma, iran, persia, potatoes, Recipe, simple, spicy, indian, iyer,

This recipe has become our favorite way to enjoy the fresh potatoes of the season! Cumin and potatoes are THE perfect pairing in my opinion. I have adapted this recipe ever so slightly to suit my Kashmiri family's taste. Mr. Iyer recommended soaking the potatoes- I did not find this necessary. The original recipe called for two teaspoons of salt- I'd start with one teaspoon as we found two teaspoons to be a bit much. Mr. Iyer stirs the tomato in last with the cilantro with this recipe. This results in a raw tomato flavor that my Kashmiri clan cannot abide. So I put the tomato in with the water and chili powder to let them cook with the potatoes eliminating any hint of raw tomato. I also used Kashmiri mirch instead of cayenne powder for its brilliant red color, rich chili flavor, and slightly less heat. The color the Kashmiri mirch lends to this dish really makes this one of the most beautiful ways to serve potatoes. I hope you'll try this easy to make and tasty recipe and love it as much as we do!

Ingredients:
4-5 large russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2-3 TBS cooking oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
1 to 2 tsp salt
1 TBS cumin/jeera seeds
1 onion, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or cayenne/degi mirch for more heat or paprika for less heat)
1 medium-size tomato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes or pureed
2 TBS finely chopped fresh cilantro/dhania

Here's what to do:
1) Heat cooking oil with 1 teaspoon salt in a medium-size deep skillet or kadhai for 5 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook for about 5 seconds. Add potatoes, onion, and turmeric. Stir-fry until the potatoes and onion are lightly browned around the edges or about 6-7 minutes.


2)  Pour in 2 cups water, chopped tomato, and Kashmiri mirch (or chili powder) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are almost fall-apart tender. This usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes. (If liquid gets too low or mixture begins to stick or scorch- reduce heat and add 1/2 cup of water.)


3) When potatoes are cooked to desired tenderness stir in cilantro/dhania and cover pan. Allow dish to stand for about 2 minutes. Salt to taste and serve. For a thicker sauce, coarsely mash some of the potato cubes with the back of a large spoon.


Mar 23, 2016

Punjabi Dhaba Dum Aloo

Dum means steam and aloo means potato. Dum Aloo is a famous Kashmiri dish - but this is definitely the Punjabi version. Baby potatoes are first pan fried to give them a delicately caramelized coat. Then the potatoes are slowly simmered over low heat until sumptuously tender in a rich and spicy fenugreek laced gravy. This slow simmering technique is the Mughal's beloved dumpukht style. The mild earthy flavor of the potatoes is the perfect foil for the richly spiced yogurt and tomato gravy. 

Indian sloww cooked baby potatoes

I first tasted this dish at a Punjabi style dhaba on a miserably hot road trip. A dhaba is a small family owned type of restaurant you'll see along India's major roadways. I ordered the Kashmiri Dum Aloo on the menu and was served this gem. This Punjabi version of Dum Aloo is similar to the original Kashmiri dish in cooking style. However, Kashmiris certainly would not use the fenugreek/methi nor tomatoes in their version. There's quite a bit of dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi in this recipe, unabashedly so. Perhaps I should have named this dish "Methi Aloo." Somehow the dum technique of slow simmering really brings out the rich mellow maple syrup-like flavor in the dried fenugreek/ methi leaves. The "melt in your mouth" baby potatoes paired with the boldly spiced sauce works beautifully! The dumpukht style slow of simmering is what gives this dish it's unique flavor. Since I don't have the proper pot for dum style cooking (called a handi) I just allow this dish to do it's slow simmering in a covered, deep, heavy bottomed skillet over a low heat for 3 hours. If you have an slow cooker or crock pot this would be an excellent way to replicate dumpukht cooking. Just place the potatoes, masala gravy, and enough water to cover the potatoes by a half inch into the slow cooker and let it cook at the lowest setting for four to five hours or until the potatoes are tender.

Ingredients:
12-15 baby potatoes, peeled 
2 TBS cooking oil
2 TBS ghee
1 tsp salt
1C onions, diced finely
2 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
2-3 tsp dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
2 teaspoons lime juice or 1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder
Grind to smooth paste for masala (if you don't have a mixie or food processor just chop the tomatoes finely and mix the ingredints well):
1 C yogurt
1 C tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 TBS ground cumin/jeera
1 TBS garam masala
5 cloves/laung
5 green cardamoms/elaichi
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp flour/maida (this will keep the yogurt from splitting)
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:


1) Peel potatoes and place in water to prevent discoloration. Grind all ingredients listed under masala paste until smooth in a mixie, food processor, or blender. and set aside.


2) Heat oil and ghee with 1 tsp salt in deep, heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai. Fry potatoes until deep golden brown and set aside on plate.


3) In same oil and pan as the potatoes were fried, fry diced onions until just beginning to brown. 


4) Add ground masala paste and cassia bark/dalchini to fried onions. Bring to simmer and saute for 5 minutes. Crumble dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi into fried masala mixture, stir well.  Stir lime juice or mango powder into masala mixture, stir well.


5) Transfer fried potatoes to pan with masala mixture. Make sure potatoes are all covered in masala mixture and are only a single layer deep. If using a crockpot or slow cooker place potatoes in a single layer on the bottom of cooker and pour masala mixture over them.


6) If using pan- add just enough water to pan or cooker so that potatoes and masala mixture are covered by 1 inch. Allow mixture to simmer covered over low heat for 3 to 4 hours or until potatoes are tender. If mixture begins to scorch add 1/4 cup water and reduce heat.
If using crockpot or slow cooker- add just enough water so that potatoes are cover by 1/2 inch of water, cover and allow to cook on the lowest setting for 4-5 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Helpful hints:
I've used baby potatoes as is traditional here but you could certainly use larger baking type potatoes cut into smaller pieces too. Baby potatoes do seem to hold their shape better in dum slow cooking though.

Traditionally the potatoes would be pricked all over with a toothpick or fork before frying to help them absorb the masala flavors. I don't think pricking the potatoes does very much (especially before you fry them) but you certainly may do so if you wish.

If you really want to replicate the dumpukht technique make a paste of 1/4 C flour/maida and 1&1/2 TBS water and use it to seal the lid of your pan or slow cooker airtight.

Pranjal Dhaba on Highway 76 near Allahabad
By Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36740032

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