Dum aloo or Aloor dum (in Bengali) is a traditional recipe that is made by cooking baby potatoes in a tangy and spicy yoghurt gravy. As per beliefs, this recipe belongs to the Jammu and Kashmir; a northern state of India, but it’s a popular dish all over the Indian subcontinent. The word “dum” is a Hindi/Urdu word that means steamed cooked in English. Therefore, dum aloo is a recipe where aloo (potatoes) and it’s gravy along with various aromatic spices, is steam cooked.
Steam cooked recipes are cooked by closing the lid of the pan in which you are cooking it on low gas flame. Traditionally these recipes like dum biryani, dum pulao etc were prepared by putting the cooking vessels on a small earthen or brick stove. These vessels were sealed to trap the the steam inside it. It used to take a long time to cook such recipes, but now we have the best alternatives for cooking.
As I mentioned earlier that this dum aloo recipe is being cooked all over the Indian subcontinents, it has so many different ways to cook or so many different variations in ingredients. My recipe is for those who don’t love too many spices but enjoys their aroma and flavours. In a nutshell, I can’t imagine the world without spices but I do take care that their quantity doesn’t exceed my expectations. In a few recipes over the internet, you may find that people are adding red chilli paste. This recipe doesn’t have it. So if you are comfortable with red chilli paste, you can add it. Just make sure to adjust the quantity of other chillies from my recipe.
Preparing Potatoes for Dum Aloo
I took 1/2 kg of baby potatoes but you can take any types of potatoes. For larger sized potatoes, I would recommend to cut them after boiling. There are two ways to boil potatoes – (1) pressure cooking or (2) boiling in an open pan. I used a pressure cooker and it’s done in one whistle (approximately 5 minutes) but if you don’t have a pressure cooker, no worries. Boil water in a pan, add potatoes and let it boil for 15 minutes.
Once potatoes are partly cooked, let them cool down. Peel them and prick them with a fork or a toothpick to make tiny holes all over them. The reason behind doing this is to let the flavours quickly infused in the potatoes while cooking in the gravy.
Now, you need to fry these pricked potatoes so that they get a nice texture and crispy layer outside in your dum aloo recipe. For this, heat sufficient oil in a deep pan for frying potatoes. I used vegetable oil, you may also use mustard oil or sunflower oil. Before frying potatoes into it, make sure they are not wet. If potatoes are wet, tap them with a kitchen towel to absorb water. Put them one by one in the pan and fry till dark brown in colour. They should look like this.
Mixing Yoghurt and Spices
In this recipe, I mixed yoghurt and spices for saving time in cooking both of them separately. I took 4 tablespoons of yoghurt and mixed the following spices into it:
- 1 tablespoon of Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
How to Prepare Dum Aloo?
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large deep pan. Add 1 bay leaf, 1 black cardamom, 3 green cardamoms, 1 mace, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 1 star anise and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
- Put 2 finely chopped onions and cook till it becomes translucent.
- Add 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds along with 2 teaspoons of grated ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add 1 finely chopped tomato. I also added 1/2 cup tomato puree to give the gravy a nice texture. You can use just tomatoes or just tomato puree or both. Even, you can puree the tomatoes into the blender. Immediately after adding tomatoes, add salt according to the taste. Also, add 2 tablespoons of water.
- Turn the gas flame to low and add yoghurt and spice mixture. Stir the mixture slowly in the gravy. Once it starts slowly tiny bubbles, turn the flame back to medium. Let the gravy cook for 5 minutes.
- Add fried potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water. Mix everything well, close the lid and cook for another 10 minutes on low to medium flame.
- After 10 minutes, open the lid and add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala and 1 cup finely chopped coriander leaves. Finally, mix and turn the heat off. Your dum aloo is ready.
- Pressure Cooker for cooking baby potatoes
- A large pan with lid for cooking gravy
- A fork or toothpick for pricking potatoes
For Dum Aloo
- 500 grams Baby Potatoes
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 3 Green Cardamoms
- 1 Mace
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 3 Cloves
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Onions finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
- 2 tsp Ginger grated or paste
- 1 tomato finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- water 2 tbsp for cooking spices + 1 1/2 cup for gravy
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- 1 cup Coriander leaves finely chopped
For Cooking Potatoes (In Pressure Cooker)
- Put baby potatoes in pressure cooked.
- Add water till half level of potatoes
- Wait for 1 whistle, then switch off the flame. Don't overcook it. Let the pressure cooker release the pressure and then open the lid.
For Cooking Potatoes (In Open pan)
- Boil water in a pan.
- Add potatoes and let it boil for 15 minutes.
Pricking and Frying Potatoes
- Peel the skin off from the boiled potatoes
- Poke tiny holes all over the potatoes with the help of a fork or a toothpick
- Heat suffiecient oil in a deep pan for frying them.
- Fry them till it looks dark brown in color. Keep them aside.
Preparing Yoghurt and Spices Mix
- In yoghrt, mix coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmetric powder. Keep it aside
Making Dum Aloo
- Heat oil in a large deep pan.
- Add bay leaf, black cardamom, green cardamoms, mace, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise and cumin seeds.
- Add onions and cook till it becomes translucent.
- Add fennel seeds along with grated ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomato, tomato puree and salt with 2 tablespoons of water.
- Add yoghurt and spice mixture. Let the gravy cook for 5 minutes
- Add fried potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water. Mix, close the lid and cook for another 10 minutes on low to medium flame.
- Open the lid and add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala and finely chopped coriander leaves. Finally, mix and turn the heat off.
- Dum Aloo is ready.
- Always use baby potatoes. If not, cut the larger sized potatoes into medium size pieces after boiling and pricking potatoes.
- Make sure to keep flame on low while adding yoghurt/curd. Else, it’ll be curdled. Increase the flame to medium once it starts showing tiny bubbles.
- Adjust the spice level as per your taste. If you like high spice level, you may add red chilli paste with tomato puree.
- Don’t overcook potatoes because we need half cooked potatoes before frying it.