THIS IS NOT MY OWN RECIPE !!
Aloo’ means potatoes in Hindi. ‘Dum’ means strength or pressure and in this context, it means that the potatoes are cooked with a lid covering them so they are under pressure due to the build up of steam. The pressure is important as it helps the potatoes soak up the flavours of the sauce they are in. ‘Amritsari’ implies that it came from the city of Amritsar in the state of Punjab.
This potato dish was a novelty when I was a child and I always imagined only special people in the restaurant could make it because my mum never did. My dad who worked in Calcutta, West Bengal when he was younger would rave about ‘Dum Aloo’ or ‘Aloo dum’ but I never got to taste it until I was an adult. All I knew was that you had to use whole baby potatoes to make it and that it was awesome.
In my early teens when mum would let me tinker in the kitchen, I’d attempt to make what I imagined dum aloo should be like. Of course, I only used the simplest of ingredients (onions, tomatoes, potatoes and garam masala +coriander for garnish) back then and mum had to help me fry the potatoes. I like this grown-ups recipe better with a lot more spice and a partiality towards chilli and I try not to fry the potatoes because they can be quite oily.
15-20 baby/chat potatoes or 3 large potatoes cut in cubes
3 large or 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 and 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves of crushed or finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves
A pinch of asafoetida
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of red chilli powder ( use less if you don’t like things spicy)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (shop bought or made from scratch)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (edible mustard oil is hard to come by in the UK. All labels say ‘For external use only’)
salt to suit your taste
1. I keep the potato skins on as that’s the only part that has nutrients other than starch. Prick the surface of the potaotes and soak them in hot salty water for 15-20 mins. In this time, chop the other vegetables. The soaking makes the potatoes softer and easier to cook in the next step.
2. The original recipe asks to deep fry the potatoes. While this makes the dish tastier, it is something I’m not a huge fan of. So, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and toss the salt-soaked baby potatoes into it. Place a lid over your wok/pan so the steam can cook the potatoes. This will take about 15 minutes but the end result is not so greasy and is well worth the wait.
3. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels placed inside a colander to drain any excess oil.
4. Follow the rest of the recipe as shown on the website (http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/dum-aloo-amritsari.aspx).
5. Serve with fresh rotis/chappatis, pita bread or rice.
1. If you don’t have baby potatoes, large one diced into cubes will work just fine.
2. The recipe is meant to produce quite a spicy dish so watch the amount of ground chilli you add. If you don’t like it spicy , try and find some ‘Kashmiri’ chilli powder at your Indian grocer which is not very hot but imparts a beautiful red colour.