They say ‘Unity is in Diversity’ and there is no better way than food to prove it. But if you have to find a single item to impress most of Indians what would you choose? My pick is potato and it has to be a Dum aloo. Yes, I’m calling it ‘A Dum Aloo’ intentionally, it’s not any typo. Because there are 29 states in India and almost every region has their own recipe of ‘Dum Aloo’. So in India you will get to taste at least 10-15 varieties of it with completely different recipes and ingredients. I’ve already shared two different Aloo Dum recipes, Bengali Veg Alu Dom without Onion & Garlic and Dum Aloo with Onion & Coriander leaves; both are from eastern region of India. Now it’s time to move to other regions; and I’ve made my move towards north this time. Yes, it’s Dum Olav from the majestic Kashmir, which is more popular as Kashmiri Dum Aloo.
I’ve mentioned here many times that most of the Bengalis have their secret love for potatoes. Though I’m not a fan, sometimes I also love to have few quick bites. As (to me) potatoes don’t have any specific taste, I have to keep the other ingredients interesting. Seriously, they bore me to death sometimes (and I don’t dare to utter this in front of Mr. Bhatty, who is a die-hard fan of potatoes!!). Hence, search for new recipes for potato from different region is always on from my side.
I’ve seen the ‘Kashmiri Dum Aloo’ listed in the menu card of many North Indian restaurants which got me curious about it. Sadly, I ordered it few times and never got anything on the plate to excite me at all. Later when I was mentioning this to one of my friends, I got to know a fact that the actual dish is completely different from what they serve here in restaurants. So I had to give it a try for the sake of my foodie nature. And result is super delicious yet ridiculously easy potato dish which I already had made few times within a short span.
The Dum Olav or Kashmiri Dum Aloo is an extremely fragrant and light preparation with flavorful whole baby potatoes in deliciously thick yogurt based gravy, loaded with nuts (or nut paste) and dry fruits. Kashmiri pandits and other vegetarians use lots of dairy products and nuts in their daily meals to maintain protein rich diets.
But there is no (thick like hell) cream, no tomatoes, no onions and top of all there should not be any red/orange food color, like they serve in restaurants in other parts of India. Please don’t get fooled (like me) by these nonsense versions of this elegant dish; don’t let them ruin your love for pure Kashmiri cuisine.
I’ve seen many variations of the very same preparation. So I can’t guarantee you on the authenticity of this dish. But I can assure you on the taste; you will get the similar taste with this recipe which they serve in restaurants of Jammu-Kashmir.
Here you go with the recipe of Dum Olav or Kashmiri Dum Aloo with the taste from Kashmir.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking/Active Time: 20 mins
Resting/Inactive time: 00 mins.
Total Time: 30 mins.
Yield: 6 servings
Do make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (unless mentioned) and weighted or measured correctly in appropriate weighing machine or measuring instruments such as cups or spoons. Remember these are not your regular cups or spoons which you use in your daily life.
For Tempering the oil:
Mustard oil: 3-4 tbsp (See Tips)
Asafetida: ½ tsp
Bay leaf: 1, large
Cloves: ½ tsp
Green cardamom: 1 tsp
Fennel seeds: ½ tsp
For the Sauce:
Yogurt, drained & whisked: ½ 2ups (See Tips to know how to drain yogurt)
Kashmiri dry red chili powder: 2 tsp (See Tips)
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp
Dry ginger powder: 1 tsp
Fennel seed powder: 1 tsp
Almond or cashew paste: 1 tbsp (See Tips to make the almond or cashew paste)
Sugar, powdered: ½ tsp (See Tips)
Baby potatoes: 500g
Kashmiri dry red chili powder: 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp, optional (See Tips)
Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1½ tsp
Hot water: 1 cup (See Tips)
A large heavy bottomed pan with lightly fitted lid,
Various large and small glass bowls (clean & dry),
Start with preparing the baby potatoes.
Wash and clean potatoes and pat them dry with kitchen towels. Many use the potatoes with the skin on but personally I hate to do that. I always clean under running water and peel the skin off for the sake of hygiene; no matter how small they are. Now prick the potatoes with fork. (See Tips)
Heat the oil in the heavy bottomed pan and wait until it reaches the smoking point. (See Tips)
When the oil is ready, add the potatoes into the hot pan with salt and fry on medium flame for 3-4 mins. Sprinkle cinnamon powder & red chili powder and continue frying until potatoes are browned and almost done. When potatoes are done, remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to get rid of the excess oil.
While potatoes are cooking, prepare the mixture for yogurt sauce. Take a large bowl and whisk the yogurt lightly in it. Mix other spices under ‘For the Sauce’ together and whisk with the yogurt slightly.
To start cooking, heat the rest of the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. When the oil heats to smoking point, turn off the heat and add bay leaf. The leaf will start to sizzle immediately. Add rest of the ingredients under ‘temper oil’.
When spices will start crackling (almost immediately after adding to the oil) and add the yogurt mixture little by little; say 1-2 tablespoon at a time and whisk to blend with the spices. (See Tips)
When the mixture is blended nicely, turn the pan back on oven and keep the flame low. Add the fried potatoes and mix with the yogurt mixture well. Once potatoes are coated nicely, add the hot water and simmer for 5-10 mins or until potatoes are completely done.
If your gravy has dried up before potatoes are done, add ¼ cup hot water. And if you can spot good amount of gravy in the pan with perfectly cooked potatoes, cook for another 1-2 mins on high flame to dry up the gravy. (See Tips)
Now your Kashmiri Dum Aloo is almost ready to serve. Remove the pan from flame; stir well and cover the pan for a minute or two.
Transfer the Dum Olav into your serving bowl. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and serve immediately.
Serve the piping hot Kashmiri Dum Aloo or Dum Olav with hot Lachha Paratha (layered flat bread) or Radhaballabhi (stuffed poori) or even with Kulcha (stuffed flat bread). But this time I had with Bengali Koraishutir Kochuri or Peas Kochuri and man I loved it to the Heaven and back!
Store the excess Dum Aloo in an air-tight glass container and refrigerate. This will taste good upto 2-3 days. In fact the Alu Dom tastes good on the next day, always!
1. Add a dollop of ghee or clarified butter into the final dish to enhance the aroma & for richer taste.
2. In some variation people use peppercorn with other spices to temper oil.
3. Some people prefer to use pinch of saffron in the gravy, I dint use any. But if you wish to add a pinch of richness to the dish, go ahead and do it.
4. If you are in hurry pressure cook the potato in initial stage of cooking (after browning the potatoes) until potatoes are done and then simmer it in rich gravy. This will not give you the exact taste of slow cooked potato but you can definitely taste well-cooked potatoes in thick rich gravy.
1. Traditionally mustard oil is used for this particular recipe to enhance the aroma and taste of the preparation. But if you don’t have mustard oil, don’t be a nag and use any vegetable oil except fancy fruity ones. Or you can happily use clarified butter aka ghee.
2. To make drained yogurt or hung curd, take a clean fine cotton cloth and put 1½ regular yogurt in the middle. Make a tight knot and hang it on your kitchen counter for 1 hr. Then untie and cloth and dump the thick semi solid yogurt in a clean bowl. And your homemade hung curd is ready to use.
3. I used almost 2 tbsp Kashmiri dry red chili powder. this chili powder is extremely hot so increase/decrease the amount according to your personal preference.
4. Soak 1 tbsp of almond or cashew nuts in ¼ cup of hot water for 30 mins. Pick the nuts and grind in food processor with 1 tbsp water. Use the water in which nuts were soaked.
5. Sugar will balance the acidity of yogurt. If you are not comfortable with the idea you can totally skip this part but make sure later during cooking you add a pinch of sugar to the gravy
6. I always fry the baby potatoes with cinnamon powder; it adds natural sweetness a nice red hue to the potatoes.
7. Adding hot water to the dish while cooking will keep the temperature of the dish indifferent. Otherwise sudden temperature drop in cooking from cold/regular water may cause uneven cooking. It can affect the taste of the final dish and also it will increase the total time of cooking.
8. Pricking the potatoes with fork will ensure that potatoes will be cooked evenly and flavors will reach the inner section too.
9. Mustard oil has high smoking point so it will take 1-2 mins. But as the oil is very thick, by the time it will be smoking hot, oil will be thinner and almost doubled the volume of its original amount.
10. It is important to remove the pan from flame before adding the yogurt to the pan. It is advisable to wait 1-2 mins to cool down oil a bit and then add the yogurt to avoid curdling.
11. Don’t add too much water at a time. It will not only ruin the rich taste of the dish but also the texture and flavor of the dish will be compromised.
Eat, Love, Enjoy and Repeat!!!