Food Talk

Presenting Shahi potatoes

Presenting Shahi potatoes

Pushpesh Pant

Our last visit to the vegetable vendor made us painfully aware that you may call aloo by any name, it is still cheaper than most other vegetables. Tomatoes, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, etc. all are beyond the reach of common man.

So, we returned home with half a kg potatoes and a problem on our hands: how to cook and serve these to our fussy family. We thought of various recipes of dum aloo but decided against all of them as we had tried them during the lockdown. We finally settled on a hybrid: potatoes in peanut-based gravy that has a nutty flavour and a rich feel.

This recipe requires a little patience, but the effort is worthwhile as it turns the ubiquitous potato into a delicacy. The flavour is contributed by the pickling spices inspired by the Nepali aloo ka aachar. The texture is intriguing and brings to mind Kashmiri dum aloo. A bay leaf, 2-3 cloves and a small stick of cinnamon create the illusion of a korma. Enjoy!

Shahi Aloo

Ingredients

  • Potatoes 500 gm
  • Ginger-garlic paste 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Cloves 2
  • Black peppercorns 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick 1 x1 inch piece
  • Whole red chilli (dried) 1
  • Sesame seeds (white) 1 tsp
  • Yellow mustards seeds 1 tsp
  • Peanuts 1/4 cup
  • Green chillies 2-3
  • Coriander powder 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder 1/3 tsp
  • Red chilli powder 1/3 tsp
  • Curds 1/4 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil 1/4 cup

Tempering

  • Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
  • Fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
  • Kalonji seeds 1/4 tsp
  • Ghee 1 tbsp

Method

  • Boil the potatoes. Peel when cool and cut into halves.
  • Grind the sesame and the mustard seeds along with peanuts and green chillies into a paste.
  • Whisk the curds and mix with equal amount of water.
  • Heat mustard oil to smoking point, add the bay leaf and the whole spices along with dried red chilli. When these change colour, add ginger-garlic paste and stir fry for 15 seconds.
  • Now add the potatoes and fry on medium flame till a light brown crust is formed on their exterior. Sprinkle the powdered spices and the salt. Add paste made from peanuts, sesame and mustard seeds. Fry till fat separates. Stir in the whisked curds in a steady stream and continue stirring to ensure that it does not curdle.
  • Reduce the flame to low and simmer till the gravy acquires the desired consistency. Prepare the tempering with fenugreek, mustard, fennel and kalonji seeds in hot ghee and pour over the potato curry. Serve hot!

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