No-Onion No-Garlic Dum Aloo| Aloo Dum Recipe

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

Method:

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!

Kheer Komola| Bengali Orange Kheer

Kheer Komola is a beautiful sweet dish made using oranges, a specialty from the state of West Bengal. It is typically prepared in the winters, when fresh oranges flood the markets. It is also a common offering to Maa Durga during Durga Pooja in Bengal. Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for this utterly delicious Bengali-style Orange Kheer.

Durga Pooja commemorates the victory of Maa Durga over the demon king Mahishasura, with several sweet and savoury confections being prepared for the occasion. These Bhapa Aloo by Sasmita, Tomato Khejur Amshotter Chaatni, Anarosher Chaatni, Strawberry Bhapa Doi, and these Kheerer Malpua by Sujata ji are a few examples of the foods cooked in Bengali households to celebrate Durga Pooja. I am so grateful to have had a chance to participate in these celebrations at the homes of Bengali friends and also learn how to make this kheer.

Delectable Kheer Komola or Komola Lebur Payesh

What goes into Komola Kheer?

Oranges (called ‘komola lebu‘ in Bengali) and milk are not a combination you would think of normally, but those are the major ingredients of this kheer. Full-cream milk is first thickened and sweetened, then allowed to cool down, after which orange segments and juice (sometimes zest too) is added to it. The end result is this delicate, extremely delectable, rich and creamy dessert called Kheer Komola or Komola Lebur Payesh.

This kheer is usually kept very simple, with just the bare minimum of ingredients going in – oranges, milk and sugar. However, you may flavour it with cardamom powder or garnish it with some nuts if you so prefer. The Kheer Komola recipe I am sharing here is very basic, requiring just the most basic of ingredients.

How to make Kheer Komola

Making this kheer is so ridiculously simple it hardly needs a recipe. However, there are certain techniques you need to follow to get the perfect outcome, which I have discussed at detail in the course of this post.
Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 litre full-fat milk
  2. 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar or as needed
  3. 2 large ripe, sweet oranges
  4. Zest from 1 large orange, about 2 teaspoons (optional)
  5. About 1/4 cup orange juice

Method:

Top left and right: Step 1, Bottom left: Step 2, Bottom right: Step 3

1. Take the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan, and place it on high flame. Allow it to come to a boil. This takes 5-7 minutes.

2. Now, reduce the flame to medium. Add in the sugar. Mix well.

3. Let the milk cook on medium flame till it reduces to more than half of its original volume. This will take 15-20 minutes, by which time it will start to change colour and thicken. Stir intermittently. Scrape down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan, back down into the milk.

4. When the milk has thickened, switch off gas. Allow to cool down to room temperature.

Top left and right: Step 5, Below top right: Step 6, Bottom left: The Kheer Komola is ready to be chilled, Bottom right: Kheer Komola, chilled and ready to serve

5. When the milk has cooled to room temperature, zest a large orange and keep ready (if using). Peel the oranges and separate the segments. Remove all seeds and fibres, and retain only the orange flesh. Cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Also, squeeze about 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice and keep it ready.

6. When the milk mixture has completely cooled down, add the orange flesh to it, along with the zest and juice. Mix well. The Kheer Komola is ready.

7. Let it sit undisturbed for 2-3 hours, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator, for the orange to spread its flavour in the milk. Consume chilled or at room temperature, after this.

Tips & Tricks

1. Full-fat milk works best in the making of this Kheer Komola. Here, I have used full-cream milk from Nandini.

2. I have used regular refined sugar here.

3. Use oranges that are in season, for best results, fruits that are neither too sweet nor too sour. Mostly sweet oranges with a tinge of sourness work best in this Kheer Komola.

4. Use a heavy-bottomed pan to reduce the milk. Patiently wait for the milk to reduce well to almost half of its original volume. If the reduction isn’t done well, the kheer will taste more like plain milk and oranges rather than having the rich and creamy texture it should. Moreover, remember that we will be adding some orange juice to the kheer too, which will slightly dilute it. However, the kheer does thicken up more upon cooling.

5. Remember to wait till the reduced milk has completely cooled down, before adding in the orange segments, zest and segments. Otherwise, the milk might curdle.

6. I have used Valencia oranges that I had at home, to make this Komola Lebur Payesh. They were more yellow than orange in colour, but were wonderfully sweet with just a wee bit of sour – just perfect for the kheer.

7. This Kheer Komola tastes best after it has rested for a while. Let the kheer rest undisturbed for at least a couple of hours after the orange juice, zest and segments have been added in. You can do this either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I prefer having this kheer slightly chilled.

8. Adjust the quantity of sugar, orange juice, zest and segments as per personal taste preferences. I have used a regular grater to get the zest. Make sure you grate only the orange skin and do not get any of the underlying white pith, as that might make the kheer bitter.

9. Like I was saying earlier, you don’t really need to use anything other than milk, sugar and oranges in this kheer. However, you may add in toasted and slivered almonds and/or cardamom powder for more flavour.

10. I have seen Bengali families skipping even the orange juice and zest altogether. In that case, only orange segments (with seeds and fibres completely removed) are added to the reduced milk. If you are skeptical of the kheer turning bitter with orange juice or zest, you may follow this method.

11. Do not use over-ripe oranges. Sometimes, they have a wine-y smell that may make the Kheer Komola less than stellar.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Badam Kheer| Badam Payasam

Badam Kheer is a delicious dessert prepared using milk and almonds. The almonds add a beautiful nutty flavour to the kheer, as well as a gorgeous, rich and creamy texture. Badam Kheer (‘Badam Payasam‘ in Tamil) is just the perfect sweet treat for the upcoming festivals like Navratri and Diwali.

In today’s post, I am going to take you all through the process of preparing Badam Kheer, the way it is made in my family.

What goes into Badam Kheer

Milk and almonds are the two primary ingredients of this kheer. Full-cream milk yields the best results, so do try to use it as opposed to skimmed versions. It is also important to use good-quality almonds like Mamra.

Milk is sweetened with sugar and thickened, then thickened further using peeled and ground almonds. A bit of saffron and cardamom powder is added in, for flavour. I love having this Badam Kheer slightly chilled, garnished with more toasted almond slivers.

Since this is a rich kheer loaded with almonds, it is advisable to consume it only occasionally on festivals or other special days.


How to make Badam Kheer

This is quite a simple thing to prepare, requiring just a few ingredients. The almonds need to be soaked for a few hours and, once that is done, the kheer comes together very easily.

Here is how to go about making Badam Kheer or Badam Payasam.

Ingredients (makes 5-6 servings):

1. 1 litre full-fat milk

2. 1/2 cup almonds + 7-8 more for garnishing

3. 2 pinches of saffron strands

4. 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar or as needed

5. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder or as per taste

Method:

1. Take the almonds in a bowl. Bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil, in a saucepan. Pour this boiling water over the almonds in the bowl. Cover the bowl. Let the almonds soak, covered, for 2-3 hours.

2. When the almonds are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Press the soaked almonds slightly, and the peel will come off easily. Peel all the almonds in this manner.

3. Reserve 1/4 cup of milk and take the rest in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place the pan on high flame.

4. Take the almonds in a small mixer jar and add in the reserved 1/4 cup of milk. Grind together to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

5. When the milk in the pan starts bubbling, add in the saffron strands. Mix well.

6. Let the milk come to a boil, then add in the sugar. Mix well and reduce the flame down to medium.

7. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium flame or till the milk reduces a little. Scrape down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan, back into the milk. You don’t have to reduce the milk to half its original volume – just a little reduction is okay. Stir intermittently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.

8. At this stage, add in the ground almond paste to the pan. Mix well. Continue to cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes more or till the mixture thickens further. Scrape down the cream from the sides of the pan, back into the milk. Keep stirring intermittently. Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened but it is still on the runnier side – remember that it will thicken up further in time.

9. In the meantime, chop up the almonds for garnishing into slivers. Lightly toast them in a pan, on medium flame, for about 2 minutes or till they get crisp. Take care to ensure that the almonds do not burn. Mix these toasted almond slivers into the milk mixture.

10. Mix in the cardamom powder too. Your Badam Kheer is ready. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Other kheer recipes on my blog

There are quite a few other kheer recipes on my blog, which you might want to check out – Carrot Kheer| Semiya Payasam| Nei Payasam| Sangu Pushpam Aval Payasam| Pasi Paruppu Payasam| Elaneer Payasam| Palada Pradhaman| Oat Milk Payasam

Tips & Tricks

1. For best results, use full-fat milk. I have used full-cream milk from Nandini here.

2. Do not overcook the kheer after adding in the almond paste. The milk might curdle. Cooking for 4-5 minutes on medium flame is good.

3. Use a heavy-bottomed pan for cooking the kheer.

4. Do not grind the almonds without taking the skin off. The paste does not turn out smooth in this case, and it ultimately adversely affects the texture of the kheer.

5. The almonds can be soaked for longer too, even overnight. In that case, you don’t need to add boiling water. The almonds can be soaked in regular room-temperature water.

6. Remember to stop cooking the Badam Kheer when it is still on the runnier side. It will thicken up some more with time.

7. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

8. You may reserve the water in which the almonds were soaked. It can be used in soups, gravies, etc.

9. The peeled almond skins can be reserved too. They can be used in chutneys or while grinding tomato puree for gravy-based sabzis.

10. I have used home-made cardamom powder here. You can use a store-bought one instead, too. To make home-made cardamom powder, take a handful of green cardamom pods in a small mixer and grind to a fine powder, skin and all. Keep this at room temperature in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed. 

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Matar Pulav| Green Peas Pulav

Matar Pulav is a mildly spiced rice dish made using green peas. It is a one-pot pulav that you can easily put together in a pressure cooker in a matter of minutes. For me, it is the perfect choice for lunch or dinner on a busy weekday. It’s a great family favourite, with all of us at home loving the simple flavours of this dish.

Today, let me take you through the process of making Matar Pulav (also called Green Peas Pulav), my way.

Matar Pulav or Green Peas Pulav

Matar Pulav recipe for Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is run by a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The participants are grouped into pairs, and every pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. These two ingredients are then used by each pair to cook a dish that fits the month’s theme. The other group members see the picture of the dish, and try to guess the two secret ingredients that have been used in it.

The group’s theme for the month of September was ‘Pulav and Biryani‘, as suggested by Swaty of Food Trails. Swaty has a large collection of interesting pulav and biryani recipes on her blog, including this beautiful Sprouted Moong Pulav and this flavourful Jodhpuri Pulav.

For the month of September, I was paired with Mayuri ji, the author of Mayuri’s Jikoni. I gave her the secret ingredients of ‘mint’ and ‘garlic’, which she used to prepare this hearty Turkish Bulgur Pilaf. Mayuri ji assigned me ‘garlic’ and ‘shahi jeera‘ as my secret ingredients, which fit right into my Matar Pulav recipe.

What goes into my Matar Pulav

Rice, green peas and whole spices are the major ingredients here.

I alternate between using Sona Masoori and Basmati rice, in the making of this pulav. You can use any variety you prefer.

Whole spices like shahi jeera (caraway seeds), bay leaves, Marathi moggu (kapok buds), cinnamon, cloves and mace go into this pulav. This eliminates the need for garam masala or any pulav masala powder.

I personally think this pulav tastes best with fresh green peas, when in season. However, frozen peas work just as well. I have seen restaurants substituting dried green peas (soaked overnight and cooked) in this dish but, for me, that just doesn’t work. I can’t make this dish if I don’t have fresh or frozen green peas available.

A freshly ground paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies adds spice to this pulav.

How to make Matar Pulav

Without further ado, let’s get to the recipe for Matar Pulav or Green Peas Pulav.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):

Whole spices:

1. 1/2 teaspoon shahi jeera (caraway seeds)

2. A small piece of cinnamon

3. 1 Marathi moggu (kapok buds)

4. 1 clove

5. A small piece of mace

6. 1 bay leaf

Other ingredients:

1. 1 cup Sona Masoori rice

2. 1 heaped cup green peas

3. 1 medium-sized onion

4. 4 cloves of garlic

5. A 1-inch piece of ginger

6. 1-1/2 green chillies or as per taste

7. 3/4 tablespoon ghee

8. 1/2 tablespoon oil

9. Salt to taste

10. 2.75 cups of water

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left, centre and right: Steps 4, 5 and 6

1. Peel the onion and chop finely. Keep aside.

2. Peel the garlic cloves and ginger and chop roughly. Chop off the tops of the green chillies and chop roughly.

3. Grind the chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies together to a paste, in a small mixer jar. Use very little water to help with the grinding. Keep the paste ready.

4. Wash the green peas thoroughly. Place in a colander and allow all the water to drain out.

5. Wash the rice well under running water. Drain out all the water. Keep ready.

6. Put together the whole spices you will need to use in the Green Peas Pulav.

Top left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Below top right: Step 9, Bottom left and right: Step 10

7. Take the oil and ghee together in a pressure cooker bottom. Place on high flame and allow them to get heated up. Once hot, add in the whole spices. Allow them to stay in for a few seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.

8. Reduce the flame down to medium. Add in the chopped onion. Saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes or till the onion turns soft.

9. Add in the ground garlic-ginger-chilli paste. Saute for a few seconds.

10. Now, add in the washed and drained green peas and rice. Saute on medium flame for a few seconds.

Top left: The rice mixture, after sauteeing, Top right and below: Step 12, Bottom left and right: Steps 13 and 14

11. At this stage, add in the water and salt to taste. Mix well. Do a taste test and adjust salt if needed. Turn the flame up to high and let the water come to a boil.

12. Close the pressure cooker now, and put the whistle on. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure drop naturally.

13. Wait for 7-10 minutes after the pressure drops off, then open the cooker.

14. Wait for 5-7 more minutes, then fluff up the rice gently. Your Green Peas Pulav is ready. Serve hot or warm with an accompaniment of your choice.

Is this Matar Pulav vegan and gluten-free?

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, but not vegan (plant-based) because of the use of ghee. To make the dish plant-based, skip the ghee entirely and use only oil.

The above recipe is gluten-free.

Skip the onion and garlic if you wish to prepare a Sattvik version.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. You may use Basmati or any other variety of rice you prefer, instead. Adjust the quantity of water you need accordingly. The number of whistles you allow would also depend on the type of rice used and how grainy you want the pulav to be.

2. The above recipe yields pulav that is well-cooked, not mushy but not very grainy either. If you need the pulav to be grainy, you could reduce the amount of water further.

3. I have used a large 8.5-litre pressure cooker here.

4. Fresh green peas in season work best in this pulav. If you don’t have access to them, frozen ones work as well. Do not use dried green peas.

5. Go easy on the whole spices. Using too many whole spices or in large quantities will overpower the pulav.

6. If you don’t have one or two of the whole spices listed above, you can skip them – try to use at least bay leaves, clove and cinnamon, though. Other whole spices like black and green cardamom, nutmeg or stone flower can be used too.

7. If you don’t prefer onion and garlic, you can skip them. Use a paste of just ginger and green chillies in that case.

8. Adjust the number of green chillies you use as per personal taste preferences. If the chillies are too mild, you may use more.

9. Do not open the cooker immediately and fluff up the rice as soon as the pressure has gone down. Mixing overly hot pulav can cause it to become a mushy mess.

10. Finely chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves can be used to garnish the pulav, as can fried cashewnuts. Here, I haven’t.

11. There is no need to, but you could add in about 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala if you want to. Go easy on the garam masala. Using too much will overpower the dish. Here’s how to make garam masala at home.

12. I have used a mix of oil and ghee here. You can use only one of these too – 1/2 tablespoon + 3/4 tablespoon.

13. Since this is a mild-tasting pulav, it needs an accompaniment like Chana Masala or Paneer Butter Masala. Toor Dal Fry, Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi or Matar Paneer go beautifully with this pulav too.

14. I do not soak the rice before making the pulav.

15. After salting, when you taste the water, it should be slightly spicy. The salt would later get perfectly adjusted.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Batata Poha| Aloo Poha

Batata Poha or Aloo Poha is a light and simple dish that can be rustled up in under 20 minutes. This makes it a wonderful brekkie option for busy weekdays, or to serve as a light dinner. When made right, it tastes absolutely fabulous too!

Today, I am going to share with you all the way I make Batata Poha.

What is Batata Poha?

Batata Poha aka Aloo Poha refers to flattened rice (‘aval‘ in Tamil), cooked with potatoes. This delicious confection is a favourite breakfast in several parts of India, especially up north.

Poha is cooked differently in different parts of India (this Tomato Poha on Priya Vijaykrishnan’s blog is an example). In Ahmedabad, I grew up with the Gujarati version of Aloo Poha – sweetish, mildly spicy and sour – and that’s exactly how I like it. In today’s post, I am going to be sharing the recipe for poha made in this style, garnished with chopped onions and coriander, often topped with sev and pomegranate. I have fond memories of relishing this Gujju-style poha (locally called ‘Bateta Pauwa’) at street-side breakfast joints.

What goes into this Batata Poha

The major ingredient here is flattened rice or poha, of course. I use the medium-thick variety of poha from Bhagyalakshmi brand. This is neither the paper-thin poha that is meant for frying nor the thick variety that needs to be soaked. Just washing it in running water is good.

Potatoes are another important component of this dish too, which is spiced with green chillies. A simple tempering of mustard, cumin and asafoetida goes in. Lemon juice and jaggery are used for flavouring the poha, and I have served it topped with coriander and chopped onions.

How to make Batata Poha or Aloo Poha

This is how I go about making it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. 2 cups flattened rice (poha), medium-thick variety

2. 2 medium-sized potatoes

3. 2 green chillies

4. 1 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil

5. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

6. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

7. 2 pinches of asafoetida

8. Salt to taste

9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

11. Juice of 1 small lemon or as per taste

12. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder

13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

14.1 small onion, finely chopped (optional)

Method:

1. Peel the potatoes and chop into small cubes. Cut the green chillies into halves. Cut the lemon and keep it ready.

2. Take the flattened rice in a colander. Wash well under running water. Leave undisturbed for some time, for all the water to drain out.

3. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cubed potatoes and a little bit of salt. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute the potatoes for 3-4 minutes or till they are cooked through and start browning. Then, transfer the cooked potatoes to a plate and keep aside.

4. By this time, all the water would have drained out of the flattened rice. Fluff it up gently.

5. Now, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter.  Next, add in the asafoetida and cumin seeds. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Turn the flame down to low-medium. Add in the cooked potatoes. Mix gently.

6. Add in the drained flattened rice and the chopped green chillies. Mix well.

7. Add in salt to taste, turmeric powder and jaggery powder. Mix well.

8. Cook for about 3 minutes on low-medium flame or till all the ingredients are well incorporated together. Stir intermittently. Taste and adjust salt and/or jaggery at this stage and switch off gas.

9. Mix in the finely chopped coriander and lemon juice. Your Aloo Poha is ready. Serve it hot, garnished with finely chopped onion (if using).

Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?

This Aloo Poha recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

It is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent, and are therefore best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. So, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering if you want to prepare a gluten-free version of this poha. However, if you are able to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.

Tips & Tricks

1. I add in the green chillies only after the drained poha is added to the pan. This helps keeps the spice level moderate.

2. Make sure you don’t overcook the potatoes. They should be cooked through but not mushy. Cook them on medium flame without adding any water.

3. Adjust the quantity of jaggery, green chillies and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences. The above quantities work perfectly for us.

4. Sugar can be used in place of the jaggery. I would not recommend skipping the sweetener completely, but you can definitely do so if you do not prefer it.

5. Do not overcook the poha. After the poha is added to the pan, mix it with the potatoes and other ingredients and cook for just about 3 minutes. Overcooking will render the Aloo Poha hard and chewy.

6. I prefer cooking the potatoes separately first, and then adding them to the poha later, the way I have done here. This way, the tempering stays fresh and doesn’t get too burnt. Alternatively, you can do the tempering first, add in the chopped potatoes, let them cook, then add in the poha to the pan.

7. Curry leaves and finely chopped ginger can be used in the tempering too, as can peanuts. I don’t use them because we do not prefer them in this dish.

8. Pomegranate arils, finely chopped tomato and fine sev can also be used to garnish the Aloo Poha. I have not used them, here.

9. Skip the onion if you aim to prepare a no-onion no-garlic version of the poha.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!