Born and brought up in Kolkata, I have an inclination towards the typical Bengali
Cuisine. When I say Bengali Food, a variety of fishes and meats might pop up in
your head. But it might strange sound to you like it does to my friends and colleagues,
I’m a vegetarian. Yes, I was born in Kolkata… Yes, I was even brought up there…
Yes, my family stays back in Kolkata… Yes, I love Bengali Food… But, I AM A
VEGETARIAN. For people who aren’t aware, Bengali cuisine offers a whole lot of
variety for vegetarians as well. You will be amazed… believe me!
One of my
favourite dishes is Luchi with Aloor Dom! Aloor Dom is a simple and a very
humble dish – baby potatoes cooked in a spicy gravy. Apart from the key being
the well-cooked baby potatoes, mustard oil is what gives the dish it’s distinct
To serve about 5 people, you will need.
- 500 gms baby potatoes (par boiled)
- ¾ cup mustard oil for frying potatoes
- 3 tbsp. fresh mustard oil for making gravy
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (Jeera)
- 1-inch cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 1 black cardamom
- 4 to 5 black pepper corns
- 1 green cardamom (optional)
- ½ Cup Poppy Seeds (soaked and finely ground)
- 1 Large Onion (ground to a fine paste)
- 2 Large Tomatoes (ground to a fine paste)
- 2 tbsp. of Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tbsp. of Green Chilli Paste
- 2 tsp of Turmeric Powder
- 3 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
- 2 tsp of Coriander Powder
- 2 tsp of Garam Masala
- 1 Cup of Water
- Salt as required
- 1 tsp of Sugar
- 2 tsp of Ghee
- Freshly Chopped Coriander for garnishing (optional)
- Rinse the baby potatoes well. Take 4 cups water in a pan and add the potatoes. Boil them till it’s par boiled/ half cooked.
- Drain and peel the potatoes. This might seem to be a tedious task but it’s worth the outcome! Watch TV or listen to music… do what you wish to. But, enjoy cooking. That’s what makes your food so delicious!
- Using a skewer, poke tiny holes in the potatoes all over. This is done so that when cooking on dum (where it gets the name from), the potatoes absorb the flavours of the gravy. Dum actually means cooking for a long time on slow flame.
- In a small bowl, mix together the red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Add a couple of spoons of water and mix well.
- In a deep bottom pan, heat some mustard oil. Add a tsp of turmeric powder and little bit of salt. Add the parboiled peeled potatoes and begin to fry them on a low to medium flame. Keep tossing in between.
- Once golden, remove the potatoes on a kitchen towel. Cool the potatoes and prick them with a skewer again. This time, don’t poke much… Let the potatoes be!
- Lower the flame, add some more mustard oil. Let the oil heat up once more and add it the khada masala (whole spices) – Cinnamon Stick, Cloves, Cardamom, Pepper Corns and lastly, the caraway seeds. Sauté till you smell the fragrance of the masala.
- Add the ginger garlic paste along with chilli paste. Fry for about a minute and add the onion paste. Sauté till pink.
- Add in the tomato puree and fry till the oil comes up. That’s how my dad taught me how to identify a cooked gravy base.
- Now, it’s time to pour in the poppy seed paste… Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Remember, we mixed in our dry spice powders in a bowl?? Add in the dry spice mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt as per taste.
- Throw in the fried potatoes and toss well till the potatoes are well coated with the gravy.
- Pour in the water. Cover and cook the potatoes on low flame for at least 15-20 mins or even, 30 minutes.
- Add in a tsp of sugar and adjust the salt. Cook for 2-3 mins or till the water dries up, not much though. The gravy should be thick.
- Time for the finishing touch. Just before taking out the potatoes, add in the ghee and cover for a minute. Let the scent of the ghee seep into the potatoes.
- Take the spiced up babies out in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with freshly fried Luchis. You may even enjoy these with rice/roti/naan/bread… anything your heart desires.
The dish is rich and full of flavour but it is not a difficult recipe. So, get into your kitchen now and give it a try.
If you eat this kind of vegetarian food, I’m sure you will not regret turning into one!