Shada Aloor Dom…the yin and the yang!!

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Shada Aloor Dom/ Bengali White Dum Aloo…it is the lesser known sibling of the world famous Aloor Dom…completely overshadowed by the big brother…robust and spicy versus mellow and sweet…the yin and the yang…only those who have tried it know its real value…Go on then, give it a try, won’t you?

Shada Aloor Dom/ Bengali White Dum Aloo (Potatoes cooked with coconut and poppy seed paste)

Ingredients

  • Baby Potatoes, 250gms, about 8-10
  • Coconut, grated, fresh or use frozen but thaw it first, 3 tbsp
  • Posto/ Khus Khus/ White Poppy seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Plain Yogurt/Dahi, 3 tbsp (ensure it is not too sour)
  • Fresh Ginger Paste, 1 tbsp
  • Fresh Green Chilli paste, ½ tsp
  • Whole Dried Red Chilies, 1-2
  • Green Cardamom, 1-2
  • Cloves, 2-3
  • Cinnamon stick, ½” long
  • Bay leaf, 1
  • Roasted Cumin Powder, ½ tsp + ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, ½ tsp – 1 tsp (according to taste)
  • Water, ¾ to 1 cup (or as needed)
  • Oil, 1 tsp if using the oven or air fryer or 1 tbsp if sautéing on the stove + 1-2 tbsp (or more J and no mustard oil for this one)
  • Ghee, 1 tsp

Instructions

Soak posto and coconut in about ¼ cup of warm water for half an hour. Blend into a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Whip the yogurt with ½ tsp roasted cumin powder. Keep aside. (Must be at room temperature to ensure it doesn’t split during cooking)

Wash and scrub clean the potatoes. Par boil with skin on in with well salted water – the potatoes should still be firm.

Peel and prick each potato a few times using a toothpick. (I sometimes keep the skin on in this recipe but typically only peeled potatoes are used)

If using the air fryer – add 1 tsp oil to coat the potatoes. Preheat the fryer at 200C for 10 minutes and then bake for 10-12 minutes till the outer layer crisps ups. Toss once or twice in between.

If using the oven – add 1 tsp oil to coat the potatoes. Preheat the oven at 220C for 15 minutes and then bake for 20-25 minutes till the outer layer crisps ups. Toss once or twice in between

For stove top method – Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan (with lid). Once the oil is hot, add in the potatoes and toss around till the outer layer goes crispy and bits of gold appear. Remove the potatoes from the pan using a slotted spoon and keep aside.

Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in the same pan.

Add in the whole dried red chilies and fry for about 5 seconds. Remove the chilies and keep aside (to be added back later – added initially to flavor the oil and removed so that they don’t split and bleed colour into the gravy).

Add bay leaf followed by green cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon.

Once the spices start to sizzle, add in the coconut and poppy seed paste made earlier. Fry the paste on low heat, till the oil separates – the paste would have changed colour to a very pale golden and come together.

Add in the green chilli paste and ginger paste, mix well and fry for another minute.

Remove the pan from heat and add in the whipped yogurt, stir and mix well. Let it cook with the coconut poppy paste for about a minute or so. (all cooking on low heat or else the yogurt may split)

Add in the water, mix well and simmer till the gravy reduces by about half and oil starts floating on top.

Add in the potatoes, sugar and salt (take into account that potatoes have already been boiled in salted water)

Cover the pan and simmer till the potatoes are done and the consistency of the gravy is to your liking – about 10 minutes.

Remove cover and switch off the heat. Add in the ghee, remaining ¼ tsp roasted cumin powder and the fried red chilies kept aside earlier.

Stir, cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Goes best with Luchis but great with Paranthas as well.

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