The Dum Aloo also called as Aloo Dam or Alu Dum belongs in particular to the kitchens of Kashmir. The potatoes, usually the smallest, are first fried and then simmered slowly in a sauce with spices. Dum Aloo is a very popular recipe among Indian chefs.
It has an interesting history, because the recipe of Kashmir, which is the best known, actually started in Bengal. Oudh or Awadh was a province of India, in the British Raj. It was located in what is now the northeastern part of Uttar Pradesh. It receives its name from Ayodhya, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, which is believed to coincide with the Oudh region.
In the 12th century the Muslim invaders conquered it. During the sixteenth century it was part of the Mughal Empire. It was invaded in 1856 by the British, joining it in 1877 with the province of Agra to form the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. After independence from India in 1947 it became part of the State of Uttar Pradesh.
In 1784 Oudh suffered a great famine. In an attempt to feed the population, philanthropist Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah began building Bara Imambara, to create employment through masonry work, a shrine built by Muslim Shiites to celebrate The Azadari of Lucknow, an important period of mourning rituals in the month of Muharram, the first calendar month in Shi'ite Islam calendar, in commemoration of death at the battle of Karbala by Imam Hussein ibn Ali, grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
There, to cook and serve hot food to the workers, they found an old recipe in which beef was stewed during the night at low temperature, using the Dum Pukht cooking technique consisting of cooking with a very low flame fire, mainly in sealed containers, whereby the meats are cooked in their own juices.
Beef was replaced by the turnip, which the inhabitants of Kashmir had introduced into Oudh, and thus hungry workers could be fed with hot food at any time of the day. Thus was born this stew of turnips. After the British captured Oudh in 1856, Wajid Ali Shah moved to Calcutta, along with his cook and his culinary discovery.
The potato was on the list of high priority vegetables for the Bengali Breeds (Kulin Bengalis) in ancient times. Warren Hastings, Governor General in 1790, received a gift from the Dutch consisting of a basket of potatoes as a novelty, which served to introduce the potatoes in Bengal. The story goes that Lord Amherst, had planted potatoes in the Barrackpore Park.
The Bengalis received the tuber with much enthusiasm. The softness of the potatoes worked well as a perfect contrast to the strong taste of the mustard and cumin seeds used in Bengali cooking. The Bengali aristocracy adopted the potato as a symbol of superiority and westernized cuisine. Before 1860, it was already the main ingredient in the cuisine of the region. The potato slowly began to travel into the interiors of Bengal.
The cooks recreated his Dum Pukht on the western banks of the Hugli River where they used simpler methods. Instead of cooking during the night, they incorporated the Bengali technique of dry vaporization. They replaced the turnips with potatoes and added cumin and so was born the Aloo Dum.
Today we are going to prepare my adaptation of the different Aloo Dum recipes I have tried, and where I use the favorite spices from Kashmir such as fennel, anise and ginger.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Calories per serving: 90 calories per 100 gms
1 tbsp gram flour
100 gms cottage cheese
1 tbsp cream
4 cups water
2 tbsp oil
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp sugar
1 green pepper
2 bay leaves
5 black peppercorns
4 green cardamoms
1 brown cardamom
2 pieces cinnamon stick
2 flakes garlic
2 tbsp ginger
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp fennel seed powder
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of ground mace
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Peel and cut the potatoes into big cubes. Scrape them, prick all over with a fork and soak in the water with little salt for 2 hours. Dry the potatoes on a cloth.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Deep fry the potatoes until golden brown. Turn the potatoes few times while frying. Drain with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Keep aside.
In a small bowl blend yogurt, ginger, green chilli, coriander powder, fennel seed powder, paprika, mace, red chili powder, and turmeric to a fairly smooth paste. Use water as needed to blend into paste. Keep aside.
Heat the measured ghee in a flameproof pan on medium heat and stir-fry the sesame seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, poppy seeds, cardamoms and asafoetida for about a minute until seeds lightly change colour. After the cumin seeds crack, add gram flour. Stir for a minute until the gram flour is golden brown.
Add the spice paste and stir-fry for about 2 minutes on medium heat until the spices starts to separate from the oil. Stir in the tomato puree, cream, cheese, cashew, raisins, sugar and salt. Add the potatoes, mix it well and add a cup hot water and stir over a low heat. After the gravy boils, let it cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
Garnish using cilantro, pepper and cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let it sit for few minutes before taking of the cover.
Serve with any bread or puri.