Dum Aloo

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Dum Aloo
Kashmiri Dum Aaloo.JPG
Place of origin India and Pakistan
Region or state Kashmir
Main ingredient(s) Potatoes

Dum Aloo (also spelled as Dam Aloo) or Alu Dum (Hindi: दम आलू) belongs to, specifically, Kashmiri cuisine. The potatoes, usually smaller ones, are first deep fried, then cooked slowly at low flame in a gravy with spices.[1] Dum Aloo is a popular recipe cooked throughout India.The bengali version of alur dom has another interesting history, In 1784 Oudh was struck by a famine . Had this not happened , Bengali's favourite "Aloor Dom" probably won't have appeared in the culinary map. In an attempt to feed the teaming poor, philanthropist Nawab Asaf -ud -Daulah created employment with masonry work at the " Barra Immambara". There, to cook and serve warm food to the workers, he employed the "Nanbais" ( Bazaar cooks) . They found a way to go about this difficult task. They resorted to an ancient recipe found in "Ain-i-Akbari" where beef was stewed overnight in a "deg", basically the technique of "Dum Pukht". Turnip, which the Kashmiris had introduced in Oudh ,replaced the beef. This way the hungry workers could be fed at a moment's notice with warm food . After the British captured Oudh in 1856, Waji Ali Shah moved to Calcutta along with the culinary treasure of his "Nanbais".(Source:1.Tayler,Thirty eight years; 2.Burton,The Raj at table)

Potato, was not on the high priority list of vegetables for the "Kulin Bangalis" in ancient times. Warren Hastings , the Governor general in 1790, received a basket of potatoes as a novelty gift from the Ducth , who takes the credit of introducing potatoes to Bengal. The Story goes that Lord Amherst , had potatoes planted in the "Park of Barrackpore". Bengalis took to the root vegetable with much enthusiasm. The starchy softness of the potatoes worked well as a perfect contrast to sharp taste of mustard seeds and cumin used in Bengali cooking. The Bengali aristocracy adopted "potato" as symbol of superiority and westernized cuisine. By 1860, it was the main ingredient in the region's cooking. Potato slowly started traveling inland from Bengal. (Source :1.Park, Wandering ,I;2.Deane,A Tour;3.Watt,A DictionaryVI,III; 4.Sen,The Portuguese influence;4.Salaman,The history and Social influnce)

The "Nanbais" recreated their " Dum Pukht" on the western fringes of the "Hugli" using simpler methods . Instead of cooking over night, they incorporated the Bengali technique of dry steaming . Cumin got added, potato replaced turnips and "Aloor Dom" was born(Source :1.Park, Wandering ,I;2.Deane,A Tour;3.Watt,A DictionaryVI,III; 4.Sen,The Portuguese influence;4.Salaman,The history and Social influnce)


Peel, wash and prick potatoes all over with the help of a fork. Keep in salted water for fifteen minutes. Heat sufficient oil in a kadai and deep-fry the potatoes on medium heat till golden brown. Drain and place on an absorbent paper and keep aside. Heat mustard oil in a pan to smoking point. Cool and heat again. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida and cook on medium heat till the cumin seeds change colour. Add onion and sauté for three to four minutes or till the onion turns light golden. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute. Add a little water and stir. Add tomatoes and sauté for a minute. Add a little water and cook till tomatoes turn pulpy. Add red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and a little water and stir. Add fried potatoes and stir to mix well and cook for two minutes. Add a little water and salt. Mix well and simmer for five minutes or till the potatoes absorb the gravy. Add garam masala powder and stir. Remove from heat and serve hot garnished with coriander leaves and ginger strips.[2]