Sunday, April 27, 2014

Atul Kochhar's Aloo Dum

Potatoes Cooked with Melon Seeds (or cashews), from 'Simple Indian' by Atul Kochhar.

This month's Randon recipe challenge is a joint meeting of Dom, author of belleau kitchen blog, and Caroline author of  Caroline Makes and Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker.  The requirement was to select a cookbook on a totally random basis and then turn to the index and pick out a recipe from the A section that appealed.

I do not take part in the Random Recipe challenges as often as I would wish to because by golly they get me opening up books I have never used before. If I was more superstitious I might believe Dom had long distance powers to weight the odds of the unused books getting selected.

So Aloo Dum, or potato curry, was picked from the A's and made as closely as possible to the printed recipe. The author acknowledges that there are many variations in India for this dish but this version comes from Northern India and is enriched with yoghurt.

This makes a rather tasty snack on its own but we had it with a plain roast chicken and frozen peas. It was just as tasty reheated the next day which made the rather process intensive recipe seem more rewarding.

I did not have any melon seeds but the recipe gives cashews as an alternative and I had plenty of un-roasted unsalted cashews so those were used.

2tbs cashew nuts soaked in warm water for approx 15 minutes
vegetable oil for frying
2 medium onions peeled and finely sliced
500g peeled new potatoes (small or cut into even size chunks)
200g yoghurt
1.5tsp chopped ginger
1tsp minced garlic
0.5tsp ground coriander
0.5tsp chilli powder
0.5tsp ground cumin
1tsp salt

1tbs chopped fresh coriander if you are a coriander lover - I left it out

finishing spice powder
seeds from 3 black cardamom pods
0.5tsp fennel seeds
5cm cassia bark (I use cinnamon powder here as I have never, ever been able to grind cinnamon or cassia sticks to a powder).


  1. Drain the cashews and grind them to a paste in an electric food mill, set aside.
  2. In a heavy frying pan heat oil to a depth of 2cm and fry the finely sliced onions until softened and light brown. Then remove them from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  3. Now add the potatoes to the pan and fry until golden brown. This took me a lot more than the 3-4 minutes the recipe indicates but I may not have been using enough oil. Again, when cooked remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  4. Put the drained onions into a food mill/processor and whiz up to a paste. Add the yogurt and blitz again.
  5. Pour all but 3 tbs of oil from the pan (or start again with a fresh pan and 3tbs oil if the original oil  has any signs of burnt pieces in it) and pan fry the ginger and garlic until light golden brown.
  6. Add the ground spices of coriander, cumin and chilli to the pan and fry for a few seconds before adding in the onion and yoghurt paste.
  7. Then add the cashew nut paste, the drained potatoes and about 150ml of water and the 1tsp salt (or salt to taste).
  8. Simmer for at least 15 minutes and until the potatoes are tender (This took over 30 minutes for my dish).
  9. While the potatoes are cooking toast the cardamom, fennel (and cassia/cinnamon if using whole) in a dry pan until they start to pop. Tip the hot spices into a grinder or pestle and whiz to a powder (add cinnamon powder at end if not using the whole bark).
  10. Just before serving add the spice powder and chopped coriander to the potatoes. Garnish with extra coriander leaf to serve.

This post is being submitted to The Alphabakes Random Recipe Challenge


  1. i'm like a wizard... this looks so delicious and fragrant... i've had the most wonderful home-made Indian weekend so my whole house has the most amazing aroma of curry spices so I know how great this must taste... fab entry, thank you!

  2. This is just bursting with spices, it looks lovely, and I'm a big fan of potato dishes. Thanks for entering Alphabakes!