Friday, May 16, 2014

Dahi Aloo - Potatoes in a spicy yogurt gravy

India is rejoicing with the victory of Modi whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been given a huge win in the national elections. He gets to form the government without a coalition for the first time in 30 years. Indians can take pride in voting against a sycophantic, dynastic and and utterly corrupt party. I for one am glad that India once again broke loose of the shackles of a foreign madam whose son had no qualifications other than his last name.

Moreover going by Modi's reputation he is expected to boost India's economy and provide opportunities for the increasingly young Indian electorate. He delivered as a Chief Minister in Gujarat a government free of corruption and boosted growth in that state. The hopes of a billion people rests on his shoulders and as everyone who knows India knows that governing a country as diverse and vast as India is not easy.

While US cowed to the shouts of some groups and denied visa to Modi in 2005 after the Gujarat riots, the White House has extended an invitation for him to visit any time. About time.

Let us all wish Mr.Narendra Modi and India the very best.

Cook and peel the potatoes. Get the onions, ginger, chilies and methi leaves ready.
Heat the ghee and oil season with cumin seeds, add the onions and saute till translucent. Add the methi leaves, green chilies and ginger. Saute for a couple of minutes.
Get the masala powders ready, add them to the sauted ginger and green chilies.
Add the potatoes to the masala and mix it well with the addition of 2 tbsp of water.
Whisk the besan into the yogurt along with a cup of water, lower the heat and add the whisked yogurt to the potato mixture. Add salt and sugar.

Now on to the recipe,
I can't imagine I have never tried these potatoes in a curd gravy this long. DH takes one look and asks if this a new type of mor kuzhambu. I was almost of the mind to deny him his dinner that day. To be fair it looks very similar to the mor kuzhambu but the taste is very different. Dahi Aloo is a Rajasthani specialty and like most Rajasthani dishes it gives the biggest bang with a very few ingredients. Most recipes pretty much had the same ingredients. I tweaked it a little bit and came with my own variation of the dahi aloo. I kept Sanjeev Kumar's recipe as the starting point. While onions are not traditionally added to the dahi aloo, I added some. I added fresh methi leaves because I had them on hand and it turned out to be a very good idea because of the aroma and subtle taste it added to the final dish.

I used the peewee potatoes that I had on hand while this could be made with regular potatoes as well. Also while besan is not added in all recipes, I added it to stabilize the yogurt when it gets cooked.

Dahi Aloo - Potatoes in a spicy yogurt gravy
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 15 small potatoes + 2 medium sized potatoes
  2. 2 tbsp of finely minced onions (optional)
  3. handful of fresh methi(fenugreek) leaves
  4. 1 tbsp of grated ginger
  5. 3 green chilies chopped and the seeds shaken out
  6. 2 cups of curd/yogurt (I used homemade yogurt made with 2% milk)
  7. 1/2 tbsp of besan (chickpea flour)
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder
  9. 1/2 tbsp of coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp of cumin powder
  11. 2 tsp of turmeric powder
  12. salt to taste
  13. 1 tsp of ghee + 1 tsp oil + 1/2 tsp oil
  14. 1/2 tsp of sugar
  15. seasonings: cumin seeds
  1. Boil the small potatoes with their skin, peel the bigger potatoes dice into bite sized pieces and then cook them till they are soft. Peel the small potatoes and set aside.
  2. Whisk the yogurt with 1/2 cup of water and the besan till smooth.
  3. In a cooking pot, heat the ghee and oil and season with the cumin seeds. Add in the onions and saute till they become translucent.
  4. Add the methi leaves, green chilies and ginger and saute for about 2-3 minutes. The methi leaves would have shrunk by now leaving only its lovely aroma behind.
  5. If required add another 1/2 tsp of oil, add red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and cumin powder. Saute for about 20-30 seconds. Take care not to burn the spices.
  6. Add the cooked potatoes into the spices and mix them around. Add about 2 tbsp of water and let the masala coat the spices.
  7. Reduce the heat completely or move the pot from the stove and add the whisked yogurt to the potatoes. Once all the yogurt has been added lower the heat to just below medium and with constant stirring let the yogurt come to a gentle bubble.
  8. Add salt and the sugar and turn off the heat.
Serve with rotis or rice. Tastes even better the next day.

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