Baby potatoes in a spicy yoghurt sauce, Kashmiri dum aloo is a wonderful recipe from the Kashmiri cuisine.
The word “dum” means a technique of cooking in a sealed pot, over low heat; a technique often used in dishes with a Mughal heritage. There are several recipes in this book that use this technique.
Kashmir is a quite cold region, often seen as a place to visit to escape the summer heat. This colder climate encouraged robust cooking and this version of dum aloo is a robust, winter, family dish.
To suit your own tastes, you may cut down on the Kashmiri chilli powder a little. You may even increase it a little without spoiling the dish. Whatever you do, make sure you use this Kashmiri chilli powder to get the red colour that is the trademark of this dish.
It is your choice whether you peel the potatoes or not. But please do make sure all the potato is of a similar size. This will help even and consistent cooking.
Although the recipe calls for baby potatoes, it can be made with larger potatoes, but they must be cut into suitable pieces.
for the potatoes
- 400 g baby potatoes - see notes
- 1 tsp salt
- 200 ml mustard oil
for the masala
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
for the potatoes
- Bring two litres of water to a boil in a pan, then add the salt and potatoes.
- Once the water has resumed boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and half-cook the potatoes. This should take around 8-10 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from the pan and drain in a colander.
- Take a pan that is large enough to hold all the potatoes in a single layer. Place on a medium heat and add the mustard oil.
- When the oil starts to smoke add the potatoes and fry until golden and crisp. This will take around ten minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon remove the potatoes from the oil and place on absorbent paper.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, poke holes in them using a toothpick or skewer. This helps the potatoes absorb the flavours of the masala in which they will be finished. Set aside.
for the masala
- Remove the extra oil from the pan, keeping about two tablespoons of the oil. Remove any small pieces of potato from the oil to prevent burning.
- Add the asafoetida and Kashmiri chilli powders and mix well.
- Return the pan to a low heat.
- Add the yoghurt one tablespoon at a time, mixing well before adding the next spoonful. This helps prevent curdling.
- Add 150ml of water to the pan and mix well.
- Add the ground fennel seeds and ginger powder. Mix well.
- Add the caraway seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, cassia stick and salt. Gently mix.
- Add the potatoes and gently fold, covering each potato in the masala. Cover the pan and cook on low-medium heat until the masala thickens. This should take around ten minutes.
- Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. Cook for another two minutes until the masala thickens more. If masala is too thick, add a little water.
- Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the caraway seeds.
- When selecting the potatoes, choose a consistent small size. This makes cooking them evenly much easier. We choose small baby potatoes to avoid having to cut them. If using larger potatoes they will need to be cut into suitable sized pieces.
- Peeling the potatoes is optional.
- The potatoes could be baked instead of frying them. If you happen to have leftover baked potatoes, this dish is ideal.