TRADITIONAL KASHMIRI DUM ALOO

Usually, the potato is a favourite among all. And for the same – Kashmiri Dum Aloo. While potatoes can be transformed into a variety of tempting dishes, Kashmiri Dum Aloo is unique thanks to the number of flavours it packs within! This authentic North Indian curry is cooked with curd, tomatoes, packed with flavourful paste of spices while the baby potatoes coated with chillies are added from the top. As a perfect finish, it is garnished with dried fenugreek leaves.

Dum Aloo Kashmiri doesn’t use any onion and garlic and hence is Satvik style of cooking. Be generous with the use of salt and sugar in this recipe as they bring out the deep flavour of the spices to life. And also since you will be spending a little more time in the kitchen when preparing this dish, make sure you cook some extra as the leftovers taste even better a day after or even a two days later!

Ingredients:

 

 

  • 15-18 New Potatoes/Baby Potatoes scrubbed and washed
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt to taste

For the Gravy:

  • 10 each Cashews & Almonds, soaked in warm water for 2 hours
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 4 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 small Anise/Aniseed
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1- 1 ½ heaped tbsp. Saunf/Fennel Seeds
  • 1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
  • 1½ tbsp. Dhania/Coriander Seeds
  • ½ – 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 6-8 Dried Red Kashmiri Chilli (Or any mild dry red chillies)
  • ½ – ¾ tsp Dried Ginger Powder or 1 inch fresh Ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Thick Yogurt, whisked to remove any lumps

For Tadka/Tempering:

  • 1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Saunf/Fennel Seeds
  • ¼ tsp of Hing/Asafoetida (Optional but recommended)
  • 1 tbsp Oil/Ghee

 Method:

  • Take cashews and almonds in a small bowl and add just enough hot water to cover them. Let them soak in this water for 2 hours.
  • Scrub and wash baby potatoes to remove all dirt. Pierce every single potato several times with a help of a fork and then place them in a pan and add about tbsp of salt and enough water to just cover them. Let it rest for 15-30 minutes.
  • Next, close the lid and cook them on medium flame for 8-9 minutes or until they are par boiled. You can even cook them in a microwave for 7-8 minutes.
  • Drain all the water and towel dry them with kitchen towel to remove any moisture. Since we will be deep frying the potatoes in very hot oil, make sure that the potatoes are moisture free. Once you have dried the potatoes, you can leave their skins on or remove it. I have left their skins on as I like the crisp and earthy taste of deep fried potatoes.
  • Heat the oil in a kadai/wok for deep frying. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the potatoes in batches of 6-8 until they turn golden, about 3-4 minutes per batch. Gently move them around so that the potatoes are evenly fried with a help of slotted spoon and place them in a plate/bowl lined with kitchen napkins to remove any excess oil. Repeat until you have deep fried all the potatoes and keep them aside until required.
  • Next we will proceed to make the delicious, creamy cashew-almond gravy for the Dum Aloo Kashmiri. Dry roast cinnamon sticks, cloves, green cardamom, star anise, bay leaf, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds on a medium flame for a minute. Dry roasting the spices brings out their natural oil which makes the gravy very flavourful.
  • Transfer the dry roasted spices to a clean, dry plate and let them cool down to room temperature. Once cool, grind these roasted spices, ginger and soaked cashews and almonds along with the water in which they were soaked to smooth paste. Add little more water to aid in grinding the spices and nuts to fine paste.
  • Prepare the dough by mixing plain flour with little water and knead it well to make soft dough. Roll the dough to make long thick strip to seal the lid. Keep it aside until needed.
  • Now it’s time to put everything together! Heat oil/ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and hing. When cumin seeds start to sizzle and change colour to deep brown, about 1 minute, mix in ground cashew-almond paste and stir well for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
  • Add sugar and yogurt and mix them well. Let it cook for a minute or two before adding a cup of water and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with lid and let the gravy cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and add the potatoes and mix them well so that the potatoes are well coated with the gravy. Add about ¾ – 1 cup of water or little more if you find the gravy too thick and adjust the seasoning. Cover the pot with lid and seal the lid with the dough strip. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat without disturbing. This is called ‘dum’ cooking, a slow cooking in a low flame and helps the potatoes to absorb all the rich flavours from gravy. You can skip sealing the lid if it is too much of a hassle and simply close the lid and let the curry simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and let the Dum Aloo Kashmiri rest for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle finely chopped coriander and finely chopped cashew and almonds and serve hot with any Indian flat breads or plain or flavoured rice and enjoy!

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