Dum Aloo or Aloo Dum is a huge favourite, with people of all age groups, across India. It refers to baby potatoes cooked in a flavourful gravy, a wonderful accompaniment to most kinds of flatbreads. There are several different ways to prepare Dum Aloo, varying from one part of the country to another, from one family to another. Today, I am going to share with you all my version of the dish, simple, made with minimal oil, and yet creamy and very delicious.
If you are looking for other potato recipes, you might want to consider the Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi, Aloo Methi, Aloo Rassedar, Aloo Ke Gutke, Aloo Poha, and Pressure Cooker Bombay Sagu on my blog.
A closer look at my Aloo Dum recipe
As I was saying earlier, mine is a simple recipe that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes – and that includes hands-free time. It is made using limited oil and routine ingredients from a typical Indian kitchen – no fancy stuff or techniques here.
Unlike most restaurant versions of Dum Aloo, I do not deep-fry the baby potatoes. They are pan-roasted instead, then cooked in a tomato-based gravy. This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe that is just perfect for the Navratri season.
There’s no cream, curd or milk used here, which makes this a vegan dish. It is entirely gluten-free as well.
You could say this is a (relatively) guilt-free Aloo Dum recipe, which makes for a lovely indulgence on the weekends along with freshly made, piping hot rotis, parathas or pooris. It might not be an authentic authentic recipe, but it does the trick for us. It actually turns out delectable, with a rich texture, no less than restaurant versions. It’s a much-loved dish at our place, for sure!
How to make No-Onion, No-Garlic Dum Aloo
Here is how I go about it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. 12-15 baby potatoes, about 350 grams
2. Salt to taste
3. Red chilli powder to taste
4. 1-1/2 tablespoons + 1/2 tablespoon of oil
5. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
6. A 1-inch piece of ginger
7. 8-10 cashewnuts
8. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
10. 1/2 teaspoon chana masala
11. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
12. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
14. 1 tablespoon kasoori methi
1. Wash the baby potatoes thoroughly, to remove all traces of dirt from them.
2. Then, place the potatoes in a wide vessel and add in enough fresh water to cover them completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow just 1 whistle on high flame, then switch off gas. Let the pressure release naturally.
3. When the pressure has completely gone down, get the cooked potatoes out. Drain out the water from them. Let the potatoes cool down fully, and then peel them.
4. Add a little salt and red chilli powder over the peeled potatoes. Using your hands, spread the salt and chilli powder evenly over all the potatoes.
5. Now, heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add in the potatoes and reduce the flame down to low-medium. Cook on low-medium flame for about 5 minutes or till the potatoes are well roasted and brown on the outside. Take care to ensure that the potatoes do not burn. Stir gently, intermittently, to prevent sticking to the pan. When done, keep the roasted potatoes aside.
6. Now, chop the tomatoes roughly. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and cashewnuts together to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
7. Prick the roasted potatoes on all sides, using a fork. Be gentle, ensuring that the potatoes do not break. Keep aside.
8. Next, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the cumin seeds, and allow them to stay in for a few seconds. Add in the tomato paste at this stage. Cook on low-medium flame till the paste thickens up, 5-6 minutes. Stir intermittently. Remember that the raw smell of the ingredients should go away completely.
9. Still keeping the flame at low-medium, add salt and red chilli powder to taste, along with turmeric powder. Mix well.
10. Now, add in jaggery powder, followed by about 1 cup of water.
11. Add in the roasted potatoes, along with the chana masala and garam masala. Mix well, but gently. Continue to keep the flame at low-medium.
12. Cover the pan with a lid. Cook covered on low-medium flame for 5-7 minutes, by which time the gravy would have thickened up and the potatoes would have absorbed all the flavours from the gravy. Open the lid intermittently to stir, gently. Switch off gas when the gravy has thickened up but is still on the runnier side. Remember that it thickens up further upon cooling.
13. Rub the kasoori methi well between the palms of your hands, and add it to the pan. Add in the chopped coriander as well. Mix well, but gently. Your Dum Aloo is ready. Serve hot or warm with rotis, parathas or pooris.
Tips & Tricks
1. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the gravy you require.
2. Don’t overcook the baby potatoes initially – just 1 whistle in a pressure cooker is enough. The potatoes will later be roasted in a pan, then cook in the gravy too.
3. I use Nati (country) tomatoes in the gravy, which are more tart than the ‘farmed’ ones. Therefore, I did not need to add any curd or amchoor to the gravy. You may, if you prefer.
4. You may add some milk or fresh cream, for increased flavour. Here, I haven’t. If using, add them in towards the end, when the gravy has thickened up and is almost ready.
5. I have used cashewnuts to thicken the gravy. You may use almonds instead. A mix of cashewnuts and almonds can also be used.
6. At all times, stir the gravy gently to ensure that the potatoes do not break.
7. I have used a mix of home-made garam masala and chana masala here, which are completely vegan and gluten-free. You can use store-bought versions instead. The combination of these two spice powders makes the gravy very flavourful, but you could use any one if you prefer. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences. If using store-bought masalas, do check out the list of ingredients to make sure they fit into your dietary requirements.
8. The jaggery helps in cutting down on the tartness of the tomatoes and in rounding off the other flavours beautifully. I would highly recommend using it and not skipping it.
9. Often, whole spices like cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves and cardamom are used in the tempering. I have used only cumin seeds here.
10. Many people use other spice powders – like fennel powder and coriander seed powder – in the gravy. I don’t usually use them.
11. Be careful with the salt, as we add it at intervals in this recipe. Moreover, my home-made chana masala also contains some amount of salt.
12. There’s no onion or garlic used here. However, if you want to, you could add in a small onion (chopped) and 4-5 cloves of garlic (peeled) while grinding the tomato paste.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!