Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

One of the tastiest but also the most disappointing dishes we ate in Mumbai was Dum Aloo. That might sound a little strange, but let me explain, some of the potatoes were cooked and others were raw, which ruined what was otherwise a tasty meal - the sauce was still delicious.

Dum Aloo is a potato in a creamy tomato spiced sauce, cooked for a long time til the potatoes are tender. I believe 'Dum' refers to cooking in a pot sealed with dough, so the moisture remains inside during cooking. Aloo means potato.

The potatoes are first deep fried, although I shallow fried mine in a couple of tablespoons of oil which worked out just fine and removed some of the faff from the recipe. Then you fry onion, garlic, tomato paste and ground spices before adding tomatoes and a little water, and then the potatoes.
You can then either make a dough or make a cartouche, which is a lot easier, to 'seal' the dish and keep the moisture in. I used a large heavy casserole dish which has a tight fitting lid, along with my cartouche - made of a round of greaseproof paper placed directly on top of the simmering potato and sauce. The cartouche is then removed, and the sauce thickened by simmering without the lid, before cream and fresh coriander is added to finish.

We ate it with freshly made rotli (or chapatis which is what you may know them as) - more on that soon! In Mumbai we had them with soft naan and juicy limes. I made the entire recipe, that serves 4, and there were lots of leftovers which tasted even better the next day.

It is important to use really good quality potatoes here, they are the centre of the dish and I think any old spuds might not tastes as good as a Jersey royal or a similarly good new potato. I adapted the recipe from the brilliant Ko Rasoi blog, missing out some of the spices and using a little less sugar, salt and cream to my taste.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo
recipe adapted from Ko Rasoi
serves 4

450g Jersey royals or good quality new potatoes
2 tbsp of groundnut or sunflower oil
2 tbsp of tomato puree
1 tin of plum tomatoes
250ml water
1 tbsp of grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp of sugar
2 tsp of salt
150ml of double cream

Spices - grind these in a pestle and mortar together
2 tsp of fennel seeds
2 tsp of chilli flakes
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of coriander seeds
1/2 tsp of ground ginger

Chopped coriander to garnish

1. Keep your potatoes whole for this recipe, if you have any large ones cut them up to around 2-3 inches long, and keep the skins on. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the potatoes til they are golden brown on all sides. Remove the potatoes and set aside.

2. Fry your ginger then garlic, and then add in the tomato puree and fry for 1 minute. Then add the spices and fry for a few minutes, add a little water if it starts to stick. Add the tin of tomatoes, sugar, salt and water. Bring to the boil and then down to a gentle simmer.

3. Make your cartouche by cutting greaseproof paper to the same size as the pot and place over the bubbling dish. Put the lid onto the pot and turn down to the lowest heat. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are completely cooked.

4. The sauce might need thickening at this point, if so just simmer til it is the right consistency. Then add in the cream and simmer for a few minutes more, being careful not to over boil. Season if needed and then add in some fresh coriander before serving.

This is a lovely comforting dish for a very cold day, and it isn't too spicy - if you aren't keen on chilli you can dial it back a little and it will taste just as aromatic but without the kick.

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