Showing posts with label dum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dum. Show all posts

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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