Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts

May 7, 2018

Ghurma Aloo (Cumin-Scented Potatoes)

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

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!

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.

Apr 20, 2016

Karim's Aloo Ghosht (Mughal Style Mutton with Potatoes)

Muslim mughlai goat lamb mutton Indian famous Karim restaurant

Since 1913 Karim's has been the most famous and iconic Mughal restaurant of old Delhi. "Aloo" means potato and "ghosht" is Urdu for mutton. In classic Mughal style, mutton is simmered in a rich blend of caramelized onions, warm aromatic spices, and tangy yogurt until falling off the bone tender. This creates the savory and spicy red gravy so prized by the royals of the Mughal court which perfectly pairs with the creamy and delicate potatoes.

Karim's original restaurant in Old Delhi.
When the coronation of King George V as Emperor of India was held in Delhi in 1911 the son of one of the cooks of the former royal Mughal court, Haji Karimuddin, had a brilliant idea. He opened a small restaurant called a dhaba to cater to all the people coming from all over India to attend the coronation. Haji Karimuddin opened the first Karim's in Delhi stating "I want to earn fame and money by serving the royal food to the common man." The origial Karim's near the historic Jama Masjid mosque served just three items, aloo ghosht, dal, and rumalli roti. This is legendary dish that launched Delhi's most famous culinary destination - Aloo Ghosht.

I first saw this recipe on an Indian television show a few years ago featuring Indian MasterChef winner Pankaj Bhadouria. With a bit of tinkering and some educated guesses as to what was actually implied by the rather vague recipe on her website I have to say this does indeed taste exactly like the original dish as served at Karim's. The key to this recipe is getting the caramelized onions right, brown them perfectly. Not a bit black or the onion's flavor will be bitter and burnt and ruin the entire dish. Err on the side of underdone with the onions if you must. The Mughals and Karim's would leave the cardamoms, cloves, and peppercorns whole, I have chosen to grind them with the yogurt for a boost of flavor. Whether you choose to leave the spices whole or ground this dish is a delicious incarnation of the nostalgic flavors of old Delhi's royal Mughal heritage.

1kg/2lbs mutton/goat, bone in, cut into 3 inch pieces
1 C onions, thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 C ghee
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala
3 large potatoes, boiled until tender, peeled & cut into 2 inch pieces
Grind until smooth for masala:
1 C full fat yogurt/dahi
1 tsp flour/maida (this will keep your yogurt from splitting
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 TBS ground coriander/dhania seeds
1 TBS ground cumin/jeera
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch ( or 1&1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1&1/2 tsp paprika)
2 tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
9 cloves/laung
9 green cardamoms/elaichi
4 black cardamoms/kali elaichi
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste, set aside.


2) Heat 1/4 C ghee with 1 tsp salt in kadhai or large heavy bottomed skillet. Fry sliced onions over medium heat until a deep golden brown. This will probably take about 12 to 15 minutes. Watch them carefully as you want them browned and caramelized  but not black. If you overcook them to the blackened stage they'll be bitter and you'll just have to throw them out and start over.

3) Set browned onions aside and allow to cool. Be aware that thee onions will continue cooking for a few minutes after you take them off the heat so leave them a bit underdone. When cooled grind browned onions to a smooth paste.

4) Heat 1/4 C ghee in a pressure cooker or large stock pot. Add mutton pieces and ground masala paste. Stir well and allow to simmer for 7 minutes. 

5) Add fried onion paste, 2 tsp garam masala, and 1&1/2 C water to meat mixture. Stir well. 

6) If using pressure cooker, seal and steam until meat is tender. If using stock pot on stove simmer until meat is tender adding 1/2 C water as needed to prevent drying out, this will take about 3-4 hours. If using crock pot or slow cooker transfer meat mixture to cooker and allow to simmer on medium for 3-4 until meat is tender.

7) When meat is tender and oil separates from the gravy stir in potato pieces and allow to heat through. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful hints:
If you are not fond of mutton/goat this recipe would work well with beef, lamb, water buffalo, venison, or elk shank or stew meat, simply shorten cooking times accordingly.

Do not burn or blacken the onions, you will ruin the entire dish.  Brown is what we want, remember the onions will continue to cook for a few minutes after you've removed them from the heat. Fry the onions over medium heat.

Apr 18, 2016

Aloo Mattar (Curried Potatoes & Peas)

Sumptuously spicy and hearty enough to be served as a main dish this is my version of the classic North Indian menu item aloo mattar. Aloo means potatoes and mattar means green peas, both are combined with traditional warm aromatic spices and slow simmered to tenderness in a rich yogurt and tomato gravy. This popular vegetarian dish pairs well with rotis, rice, or naan. 

We had a bumper crop of potatoes this year, those you see in the photos are Yukon Golds from my garden. If you can't find Yukon Golds where you are Russets or any baking type potato will do. In this dish we first make the gravy and then add the peas and precooked potatoes. The peas we get here aren't the tender kind we get in western countries, they're a bit tougher and require some cooking so I use a pressure cooker for this dish. If you're using the tender green peas found in western countries you could simply use a heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai to make the gravy then simply stir the peas in at the same time as the precooked potatoes and allow the dish to simmer for an extra five minutes or so.

3 potatoes, boiled until tender, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
1 cup green peas/mattar, fresh or frozen
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
2 onions, sliced finely into half moons
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
1 tsp salt
Grind until smooth for masala-
3 tomatoes, chopped roughly
1/2 C yogurt/dahi
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger'adrak paste
2 tsp Kitchen King* masala (or garam masala)
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania seeds
2 tsp cumin/jeera, ground
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1/2 tsp paprika powder)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1-2 green chilis/hari mirch (optional, omit for less heat)
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Boil potatoes until tender, then peel and slice into one inch cubes and set aside. Grind all ingredients listed under masala to a smooth paste and set aside. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, heavy bottomed skillet, or kadhai with one teaspoon salt and fry onions until beginning to brown.

2) Add cumin seeds, cassia leaf, and ground masala paste to fried onions, stir well and bring to simmer. Allow to simmer for about 7-9 minutes or until oil separates from sauce. If mixture begins to scorch or stick add 1/4 cup water, stir and reduce heat.

3) Add peas to fried mixture. If using pressure cooker add 1cup water seal and cook for 2 whistles. If using heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai add 1/2 cup water and simmer until peas are just tender. (The peas in South Asia are a bit tough and require a lot of cooking unlike the tender peas found in Western countries. If you are using the tender peas found in Western countries you might want to stir them in with the potatoes in step 4 to prevent them being overcooked. )

4) If using pressure cooker allow to cool and open, stir in boiled potato cubes and simmer until gravy is to desired consistency. If using skillet or kadhai stir potatoes in and simmer until gravy is of desired consistency. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful hints:
Kitchen King is a popular North Indian premade spice mixture. My favorite brand is Catch but MDH is good also. If you can't get Kitchen King masala a good substitute is: 1/2tsp cayenne + 1/2tsp paprika + 1tsp cumin + 1tsp coriander + + 1/2 tsp fennel + 1/4tsp ground fenugreek +1/4tsp mace + 1/8tsp nutmeg 

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.

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,

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