Happy new year, people! Here’s hoping 2020 will be kind to all of us. 🙂
In my first blog post for this year, I chose to share the recipe for Aloo Rassedar, a recent discovery which soon went on to become a huge favourite with everyone at home.
There cannot be too many ways to cook aloo, I say. The potato is one of the nation’s most loved veggies, after all! There are hundreds – if not thousands – of ways it is cooked, all over India. I’m only too happy to discover a new way to work with potatoes, considering the aloo love that runs in my family too. French fries, potato salad, Gujarat’s Bateta Nu Shaak, Tamilnadu’s Urulaikizhangu Roast and Bonda, Bengali Aloor Dom, Punjab’s Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi, Aloo Raita and Tandoori Aloo are some highly cherished preparations at our place. I am thrilled to have learnt how to prepare, recently, Aloo Rassedar, Uttar Pradesh style. What a beauty!
Aloo Rassedar, a fragrant and flavourful offering from Uttar Pradesh
I discovered Aloo Rassedar at Bombay Brasserie some months ago, and fell in love with it at first bite. This potato sabzi from the Uttar Pradesh cuisine was so hearty and full of flavour that it completely bowled me over. Large chunks of potato were cooked in a tomato-based gravy, along with the spices that are typically used in pickles up north. The nigella seeds, cumin, dry red chillies, fennel and fenugreek used in the gravy made it oh-so-fragrant and irresistible.
Making Aloo Rassedar for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge
The Aloo Rassedar took a back seat in my memory after that meal in Bombay Brasserie, till I rediscovered it recently.
I’m part of the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group on Facebook, wherein we cook dishes from a particular Indian state every month. Uttar Pradesh cuisine was the theme for December 2019, a fascinating, vast subject that had me reading up on it extensively. When I figured that Aloo Rassedar is a popular accompaniment to pooris and rotis in Uttar Pradesh, I absolutely had to go ahead and make it.
I was paired with Priya, the talented blogger at Sweet Spicy Tasty, for the month. You should definitely check out her blog, a treasure trove of vegetarian recipes from around India. Priya gave me two ingredients to work with – red chilli powder and potatoes – and, luckily, they both fit right into the Aloo Rassedar recipe that I wanted to make. Do check out the beautiful Choora Matar that Priya made using the two ingredients I assigned her!
The gravy turned out extremely beautiful, just as fragrant and flavourful as I remembered it from all those months ago. It was much appreciated by everyone at home, and made for a wonderful meal with the plain parathas I served it with.
A bit about Uttar Pradesh cuisine
A fairly large state in North India, Uttar Pradesh boasts of a rich history. Thanks to various Mughal emperors ruling Uttar Pradesh in the 16th century, the state’s cuisine also includes several Mughlai and Awadhi dishes, apart from its own indigenous foods. There are a considerable number of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes in the state’s repertoire.
Wheat is the state staple, used in a variety of flat breads like Tandoori Roti, Lachchha Paratha, Naan, Roomali Roti, Sheermal and Kulcha. Baati Chokha, Fara, Dubki Wale Aloo, Kachori, Kakori Kebab, Teheri, Bedmi Poori, Nimona, Galouti Kebab, Gobi Musallam, Gujiya and Petha are some of the most popular dishes from Uttar Pradesh. The state is also the birth place of many varieties of chaat.
Information courtesy: Wikipedia
How to make Aloo Rassedar
I’m happy I found this authentic recipe for Aloo Rassedar, and mostly followed it, with just a few minor variations.
This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based diet. It is also a no-onion, no-garlic, no-ginger recipe, which can be termed Sattvik or Jain.
Since most brands of asafoetida available in India include wheat flour, it would be advisable to avoid the ingredient completely if you are considering making a gluten-free version. However, if you can get your hands on completely gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.
Let’s head to the recipe now.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- About 6 medium-sized potatoes
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 2 dry red chillies (sookhi lal mirch)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander (dhania) powder
- 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder or to taste
- Red chilli powder to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala or to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander, for garnishing
1. Wash the potatoes well under running water, and remove all traces of dirt from them. Cut each potato into half and place in a wide vessel. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the potatoes fully. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles or till the potatoes are cooked through. Let the pressure release naturally.
2. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside.
3. When the pressure from the cooker has fully gone down, get the cooked potatoes out. Drain out all the water from them. Let the potatoes cool down completely, then peel them. Cut the cooked potatoes into large pieces, and keep aside.
4. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the dry red chillies, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a few seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.
5. Now, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Add in a little water and a bit of salt. Cook on medium flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, 3-4 minutes.
6. Keeping the flame medium, add the potato pieces to the pan, along with about 1 cup of water.
7. To the pan, add salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
8. Add in the roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, amchoor powder and garam masala. Mix well.
9. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the gravy starts to thicken. Stir intermittently to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Switch off gas when the gravy is still quite runny. It thickens further upon cooling. Your Aloo Rassedar is ready. Serve it hot with pooris, rotis or parathas, garnished with finely chopped coriander.
Tips & Tricks
1. Some versions of Aloo Rassedar also use onion, ginger and garlic. You can add in the onions, finely chopped, before the tomatoes go in, then saute them till they turn brown. The garlic and ginger can be ground together to a paste and added to the pan along with the tomatoes.
2. You can also puree the tomatoes instead of chopping them finely.
3. Skip the garam masala if you do not want to use it. I personally felt it was a good addition.
4. I also added in a bit of jaggery powder, though that is not called for in the original recipe. I think it was a lovely addition – it rounded off the other flavours nicely.
5. Some kasoori methi, coarsely crushed between your palms, can also be used to garnish the Aloo Rassedar. You can add this in with or without the finely chopped coriander.
6. Make sure you switch off the gas when the gravy is still quite runny. It thickens quite a bit on cooling.
7. If the gravy gets too thick, add a little water and cook till it reaches the desired consistency.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!