Dum Aloo (Baby Potato Curry)

Though we get loads of baby potatoes in North India, I rarely buy them. That’s because I feel guilty consuming potatoes – even though I have read so much about how healthy potatoes are. Perhaps a conditioning of my pre-WFPB days when we were advised by doctors to limit our intake of potatoes. Last winter, however, the mood was upon me to have dum aloo – a Kashmiri dish. This dish is popular across the country. Since potato is my favourite vegetable, I was really looking forward to this dish. Hari told me that he knew how to prepare it. So, I relaxed confident that I will have the perfect dum aloo. And so it was.
This dish has a large spice list. But all these spices come together to form a very tasty dish. Dum means slow cooked. So, dum aloo will taste best if it is slow cooked. Mine wasn’t particularly slow cooked, but I still enjoyed it very much.
So, on to the recipe.

Dum Aloo

15 baby potatoes, boiled
1 large onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup tomato puree (just grind 2 medium sized tomatoes without water)
1/2 cup fresh, thick vegan yogurt
1 tsp fresh vegan cream (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 dried bay leaf (tej patta, brinji elai)
2 cloves (laung, kirambu)
1 green cardamom (choti elaichi, elakkai)
1″ piece cinnamon (dalchini, pattai)
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
1 green chili, chopped fine
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 1/2 tbsp Bengal gram flour (besan, kadalai mavu)
1 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder, kothamalli podi)
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
Unrefined salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Heat a heavy bottomed vessel
Add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and asafoetida
When the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add the green chilis and ginger-garlic paste
Sauté for a couple of minutes till the raw smell of the ginger-garlic paste evaporates
Add the gram flour, dried fenugreek leaves and a very little water
Reduce flame to low
Cook till the gram flour is blended well and emanates its aroma
Add the onion
Continue to sauté, stirring continuously, till the onion is slightly browned
Next add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala powder
Sprinkle a little water, if necessary
Cook for 2-3 minutes
Add the yogurt and mix well
Continue to cook on low flame for a couple of minutes
Add the tomato puree and continue to cook till the tomatoes are really mushy
Finally, add the boiled potatoes and salt
Now add about 1/2cup water and continue to cook on low flame (if you like more gravy, increase the quantity of water)
When the gravy thickens, remove from flame
Serve hot with Indian flat breads or even steamed red/brown/millet rice

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