Tag Archives: Potatoes

Station Wale Aloo – Simple Potato curry

What is that title you may say 🙂

Let me explain by a trip down memory lane…Throughout childhood,  my family embarked on the winter trip from the icy cold winter in Srinagar, Kashmir to the weirdly uncomfortable winter in Lucknow, UP to bask in the sunshine of my grandparents.

Once winter descended in Kashmir and school wrapped up for winter vacation, it became bitterly cold, electricity was a novelty for the most part and activity was limited to playing in the snow or running around the house making up games. We would then prepare to make the trek to spend the winter with our grandparents and extended family in Lucknow.

Lucknow houses were big and open which reluctantly welcomed a moderate winter but full of warmth and laughter from the cousins, uncles and aunts that waited anxiously for our arrival each year.

My siblings and I absolutely loved the adventurous trip… so I am getting to my story that ties to the recipe….The yearly adventure first involved getting to the city of Jammu from Srinagar which could be a long bus or car ride ( airplane in later years). Then the famous “express” train which would take 2 days from Jammu to Lucknow. A day in life in trains in India  was sweet, surreal, seductive, scary, inspiring, dismal, reflective and never ending all at the same time.  To this date if I close my eyes, I can feel the wind (and the dust) through the grilled train windows.

The train ceremoniously stopped at numerous railway stations during this journey at strange hours of the night and day and I would eagerly await the one that called out the potato curry and puris (fried bread).

That gets me to the point of Station Wale Aloo. The simple potato curry being served for a couple of pennies through the grilled train windows at indistinct stations is a memory that is deep rooted.

Food memories reside deep within your soul and can be recreated through flashbacks and visuals and the sense of smell and taste through time and experiences. I have not been on a train in India for about 25 years  but this is my version in my American kitchen weaved together from magical childhood memories

It is essentially potatoes in curry with no onions or garlic. You can omit the oil as well if you like.

A simple vegan dish that will nourish your soul.

Station Wale Aloo

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

 

  • 4 -5 Boiled potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes – pureed or 1/2 canned tomato pureed
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tsp methi ( Fenugreek) seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 5-10 curry leaves ( optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Hing ( Asafetida)
  • Oil if using ( 1 tbsp)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Directions

 

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. You can remove the skin if thick or leave it on depending on the potato. . I use my hands to break the potatoes into chunks ( 1 inch or so) and set aside. You can chop if you like.
  2. Soak the methi ( Fenugreek) seeds in warm water for about 20 mins and grind.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. If not using oil you can add the spices directly to the pan and monitor that they do not burn.
  4. Add cumin, Hing, curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for a minute
  5. Add the ground methi seeds and fry for a few second and then the pureed tomatoes and ginger.
  6. Cook everything for 5 minutes and add the rest of the spices.
  7. Add vegetable broth and then the potatoes.
  8. Cook everything until it gets to a thick gravy consistency
  9. Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro.
  10. I have served with this with sprouted wheat and lentil roti…but the choice of puris(fried bread) or rice would be great too.

Aloo Gobi with Quinoa

In the wake of such disturbing news around the world I was looking for ways to calm the spirit and indulge in simplicity. Yes, simplicity is an indulgence these day with the hectic world we live in.

Fall continues to soothe this part of the world and the recipes have taken the hues of rust and gold. I find peace in nature, in  my abundant curry leaf plant and the magical herbs and vegetables still flourishing in my garden.

In the market I found a ready good head of cauliflower and some beautiful potatoes which are the crown of this simple dish.

Aloo Gobi (Potatoes and Cauliflower) is a staple in many households around India…accompanied with rice or chapati (bread).  With fragrant spices, fresh ginger, cilantro and garden chilis, it settles your heart and soul. The twist here is that I have served it with Quinoa to make is a little healthier.

Aloo Gobi with Quinoa
Aloo Gobi with Quinoa

Aloo Gobi with Quinoa
Aloo Gobi with Quinoa

Here is what you need:

  • Quinoa – 1 cup (thoroughly washed)
  • 1/2 head of Cauliflower cut in chucks
  • 2 potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 or 2 green chilis chopped
  • 1 red onion – slices
  • 2 inch ginger chopped or julienned finely
  • Curry leaves – a handful
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella (caraway) seeds
  • 1/2 fennels seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 of lemon
  • Cilantro or parsley

Putting it together

  • I cooked the Quinoa in a rice cooker with the setting of white rice. Please use any method that works for you.
  • Par boil the potatoes – I put them in water and in the microwave for 10 mins
  • In a wok, add olive oil and the seeds
  • SautĂ© for a minute until they pop
  • Add curry leaves for a minutes
  • Add onions and ginger and sauce for 4- 5 minutes
  • Add the Cauliflower and fry until mixed
  • Add turmeric, cayenne, salt and let everything mix together for a couple of mix.
  • Add the par boiled potatoes and water.
  • Cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked but still firm.
  • Garnish with lemon juice, cilantro or parsley.
  • Serve with a side of Quinoa.

AlooGobi2

Red Hot Potatoes – Dum Aloo

A beautiful spring Sunday and early morning quality time perusing through cookbooks inspired this flavorful dish.  

Kashmiri Dum Aloo
Kashmiri Dum Aloo

This Dum Aloo dish is infused with amazing fragrant spices like fennel, cinnamon and cardamons used in Kashmiri cooking. Every household has it’s own variation of a Kashmiri Dum Aloo recipe, some use onions and others use Asafetida (hing). Mine is with fried onion paste for which I used a mortar and pestle the old fashioned way. Onion paste is also commonly used in Mughlai cooking.

Paste of fried onions

Kashmiri red chili powder is what makes it hot. I also carried some cockscomb flower (mawal) powder with me during my last visit which just adds color to the dish. This is totally optional and I have not listed it as an ingredient.

“Dum” cooking is simply a slow cooking method that uses needs a tight lid on the container so the steam can do its magic.  History tells us the technique may be based on earlier Persian cooking methods introduced to India.

The recipe can be thought of in 2 parts so it does not look so intimidating. Get the potatoes ready; get the sauce ready. Mix them and slow cook…easy 🙂

I used round organic red potatoes for this but you can use any variety that is 1 to 1 1/2 inch round. Frankly you could cut up large potatoes in big pieces and use that too. The round potatoes are authentic and look cool.

Don’t forget that you need to use a toothpick to prick holes in the boiled potatoes before frying. This creates the avenue for the spices to seep into the core of the potato.

Very excited to be sharing this with friends on Fiesta Friday

Here is what you need:

  • A pound and 1/2 of potatoes ( 10 rounds approx)
  • Oil
  • 5 black cardamon
  • 8 green cardamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 2 tsp dry fennel powder ( saunf)
  • 2 -3 bay leaves
  • 3 pieces of 1 inch cinnamon sticks
  •  1 tsp red chili powder ( or more if you like)
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp yoghurt beaten with 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp black cumin seeds
  • Spices: Fennel, Ginger,  Green Cardamon, Black Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cloves, Chili, Turmeric, Bay leaves
    Spices: Fennel, Ginger, Green Cardamon, Black Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cloves, Chili, Turmeric, Bay leaves

Putting it together:

  • Wash potatoes and boil until cooked but firm. Use the toothpick test but remember they should be firm.
  • Peel the potatoes and prick them well with a toothpick.
  • Heat oil in a wide pan and then add potatoes. Fry until slightly golden ( see picture)
  • Drain on a kitchen towel and keep aside
  • Fry the onion in the same oil, remove and grind.
  • Using the same pan with a tablespoon or so of oil in it, add cardamons, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, fennel, ginger, red chili, yoghurt, garlic and the onion paste.
  • Stir for few minutes until everything is well mixed.
  • Add 3 cups of water, turmeric and salt and let it come to a boil. Add potatoes, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes until the gravy is thick and potatoes have absorbed the color and spices.
  • Add the black cumin seeds and mix.

Boiled and Fried Potatoes Boiled and Fried Potatoes

Dum Aloo- Kashmiri Cuisine
Dum Aloo- Kashmiri Cuisine

Serve with naan or rice. A dash of lemon juice will add bring out more of the flavor.