Mutant cucumbers and dum aloo

By popular request, here is my recipe for dum aloo. It may have come from Julie Sahni by way of S’s father, but I’ve never checked my hand written recipe against the book. It’s an impressive dish that’s easy to make. Prepping the potatoes takes  some time, but after that it’s quick. We’ve made it for various people over the years, and it’s always a hit – so rich and so delicious.

But first, a picture. Every post needs a picture, but I don’t have one of dum aloo. We’re eating our way through a bumper crop of tomatoes from the farm, so we won’t be making this anytime soon (seems like a waste to use fresh tomatoes here). Instead I’ll share a picture of Rufus lounging next to one of our garden cucumbers. 

We planted an Armenian Burpless, which is a very pale variety with distinctive ridges. Left alone, they can get quite large. This particular cucumber was hiding somewhere in the middle of the mess of vines. By the time we saw it, it was big. I have a hard time capturing scale in pictures, so when I saw Rufus napping next to this beast I was quick to take advantage. For those of you who don’t know, Rufus is not a dainty cat, last weighing in at more than 15 pounds.


Without further ado, the recipe:

Dum Aloo

12 small potatoes (baby red or fingerling)
7 tb veggie oil (enough to shallow fry the potatoes)
1 1/2 c finely chopped onion
1 tb finely chopped ginger
2 ts ground cumin
4 ts ground coriander
1 ts tumeric
1/2 to 1 ts cayenne
1 ts garam masala
2 c chopped or pureed tomatoes (like I said, I think it’s a waste to use fresh since canned are fine)
2/3 c plain yogurt (full fat is best)
4 ts salt (this is waaaay too much, use 1/2 to 1 ts total and then adjust to taste)
2/3 c heavy cream

1. Prep potatoes: peel and prick with a fork in 4-5 places. Rinse in cold water and then pat very dry with a clean dish towel. They should be bone dry before the next step or else they’ll sputter in the oil.

2. Fry potatoes: Heat 5 tb oil in pot until very hot. Fry potatoes until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

3. Sauce: If necessary, add remaining oil to pan (I never do). Fry onions until caramel brown, stirring constantly. This takes time, so don’t skimp. The onions should be deeply colored (past carmelized) but not super dark brown (like I’d do for a curry, for instance). Add ginger and stir for about a minute. Add spices, and stir for less than a minute. Add tomatoes, stir. Reduce heat and add yogurt and salt. Stir until incorporated.

4. Put it all together: Add potatoes in a single layer and bring it to a simmer. Simmer very very gently, covered, for 35 minutes. Be careful not to curdle the yogurt, so keep the heat very low. The last step is to stir in the cream.

Try to prep at least a few hours before you serve it.



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3 responses to “Mutant cucumbers and dum aloo

  1. Chicago fans

    Hello cucumber farmers! Thanks for posting this recipe. 🙂

  2. Pingback: CSA roundup 2010 | Les Ardoises

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