Recipe | Baby Potatoes in Spices & Yogurt aka Dum Aloo – Dreams don’t work unless you do
“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”~ Maxwell
A crazy week of food photo-shoot at Isha Life in Chennai, and I am back home…finally.
With no more running around carrying heavy loads of props and no shots to plan for the days, it feels good to relax & enjoy a bowl of home-cooked ‘Poha’ and ginger tea on my swing.
Hmm… it has been 4 years since I started my first food styling shoot for Brown Tree.
I now have successfully completed more than 15 projects for well know companies and brands of India.
I remember how anxious and skeptical I was when I said ‘yes’ to my first commercial assignment in 2011. But then, it was probably out of the fear of not being able to manage my home, growing children and work pressure at the same time.
I am overcoming that fear with every shoot and can see the significant changes around me at home. My children are more organized and independent now while hubby is taking his household responsibilities seriously.
My confidence level has increased manifolds after working with some of the best Indian photographers, advertising agencies and production houses.
And with every successful project I learn to take bigger and better risks.
Yes, I am having so much fun experimenting and learning new ways to compose shots, style and plate the dishes.
The only concern I have is that I am slightly disconnected with world of food blogging and missing friendly chats with food bloggers…sigh..
I recently had an opportunity to work for the food product division of Isha foundation with Disha communications in Chennai.
The center is beautifully decorated with antiques and intrinsically crafted artifacts in metal and stoneware by the volunteers at the center.
I could not resist myself clicking a few pictures of the distressed wooden tables lying all over Isha life center with my phone camera.
The wooden table looked out of the world…my phone camera did no justice to this beauty.
During a pre-production meet with the client and advertising agency, we segregated the products based on the ingredients and category. Day one was kept for rice based dishes, pickles and ready-made powders.
Cookies and health drinks were shot on the other two days.
First day of photo-shoot….
Oh..yes, I did enjoy the food served at their restaurant. It was light, rustic and perfect to keep the energy going.
I opted for their wheat and grain based ‘Thali‘ and loved the Ragi and rice Akki rotis with a traditional curry (forgot the name)..multigrain savory porridge, fruit and vegetable salad, greens, wild rice payasam (dessert) and other dishes.
The room where the camera and lighting were set up. This was my second shoot with the very talented photographer, Manikanten Np with whom I had already worked for ‘Panasonic’ brand sometime back.
Always ready to share and suggest styling ideas for every shot that we plan, Mani and his team is a pleasure to work with.
This was one of the last shots that I worked on for their health drink. We wanted to shoot all the 12 ingredients (grains, pulses and nuts).
This shot took the maximum time to plan and style and it did come out beautiful.
The shoot was ended with a splash shot for their health drink and I reached home around 10.3o pm.
Baby potatoes in spices and yogurt aka Dum Aloo
Back home, I had already planned and stocked ready-to-eat rotis (Indian flat-breads) and ‘Dum Aloo‘ for dinner.
I have come across many variations of this spicy, flavorful and rustic Indian potato curry. There is authentic Kashmiri dum aloo, Punjabi, Banarasi, Bengali Aloor dum, Amritsari, Lakhnawi and Muglai Dum Aloo. If Bengali version has ‘Panch phoren‘ in it, Kashmiri version has dried spices and Punjabi version has tomato and onion in it.
But this is my take on Dum aloo which is quite easy to prepare, provided you have stock of all the dry spice-mix used in the recipe.
I ground the dried spices and refrigerate it in small zip-lock bags with the marking ‘Dum Aloo spice-mix’. There is always a stock of boiled baby potatoes and many other root vegetables in my refrigerator.
During some of the busy days, all I need to do is to add ground spice-mix to yogurt and cook it with boiled and shallow fried potatoes.
- 12-15 baby potatoes
- 1 ½ cup Yogurt
- 3 tbsp. Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Sugar
- A pinch of Asafetida powder
- Salt to taste
- 4 Kashmiri red chilly
- 1/2’ Dry Ginger
- 1 tbsp Fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. peppercorn
- 4 Cloves
- 2 Black cardamoms
Method; Wash all the baby potatoes and parboil or partially cook them in a large pan of water.
Place all the parboiled potatoes in a other vessel filled with cold water and let them cool.
Peel all the potatoes and prick each potatoes lightly with a fork.
Heat a pan and dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black cardamom, peppercorn, fennel seeds and dry red chilies on high heat for about a minute.
Grind all the roasted ingredients with cloves, cardamom and dry ginger.
Pour about 2 tbsp. of oil in a flat pan and shallow fry the potatoes till they turn golden brown in colour.
Take out the potatoes and place them on tissue paper.
Heat oil in a pan and add asafoeitda powder in it.
Pour a tablespoon of water in ground spices and salt, pour this into the pan and cook it for 2 minutes.
Whisk the yogurt well with a fork and add it in the pan.
Add sugar (optimal) and shallow fried baby potatoes in the pan, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
Cook till the gravy thicken and oil starts floating over the pan. At this stage you can give ‘Dum‘ to the curry by placing it over a hot griddle.
Cover the pan with a lid and place it on a hot griddle and let it cook on slow heat for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and serve the Dum Aloo curry with plain rice or India flat breads.
Check Glossary for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipe.
- Mustard oil or groundnut oil gives the best result.
- Use thick yogurt for this recipe. Add a teaspoon of cornflour or all purpose flour (maida) and then add it in the gravy to avoid curdling of yogurt.
- You can prick the baby potatoes and deep fry them for better crust.
- Grind all the ingredients mentioned under spices list for a quick ‘Dum aloo’ treat any time.
- Use ‘Kashmiri‘ red chilies for bright colour but mild curry.