Bengali alur dom is one such classic Bengali recipe which we over-emotional Bengalis are passionately attached to and can’t do without a generous serving of this every now & then!
Dum aloo is the quintessential Indian curry which is popular all over the country with region-specific twists! This Bengali alur dom is the Bengali take on it which was one of my comfort foods during my growing years! Alur dom, or nationally called as dum Aloo, is in existence since time immemorial and Indian cuisine will not be regarded as complete if this recipe doesn’t get an honorable mention! Alu i.e. potato is one of the dominant vegetables in Bengali cooking and there is hardly any dish which is made without alu or aloo as we pronounce it in a typical Indian household. Hence, it’s a no-brainer that we Bengalis will have our own version of alur dom which we are very passionate about, so much so that it makes it to the menu of special occasions’ meals.
Dum Aloo is such a popular Indian curry that you will find it in every corner of the country with their regional tweaks. This one recipe can never go wrong! Our Bengali alur dom is like any typical Indian curry where cubes of potatoes are simmered in a fragrant curry sauce long enough to allow the potatoes soak up all the aroma and flavors. But the typical Bengali flavors of kalo jeere or onion seeds sautéed in mustard oil make it our very own alur dom which is so close to our heart and thus distinguish it from its soul sister – Punjabi dum aloo! Bengali alur dom is milder in flavor compared to Punjabi dum aloo and I have distinct affection for each one of them. The added advantage of the Bengali version is that is comes with my childhood nostalgia tagged with it!
Our Bengali alur dom is best partnered with luchi a.k.a poori, which is another super-popular Indian flat-bread made of all-purpose flour. The flour dough is rolled out into thin small circular discs and then deep fried in any flavorless oil until puffed up like a balloon. The mouthwatering luchis are served hot with a side of any curry, this alur dom being one of the very popular choices as a pair. This combination of luchi-alur-dom simply rocks and a dedicated non-vegetarian like me will love to give up on meat for this! If you wanna impress any Bengali, trust me, just offering a plate of fluffy white luchi’s with a bowl of warm alur dom will do the trick!
For the best alur dom recipe, use baby potatoes which also has a high starch-content that helps thicken the curry making it more delicious. If you can’t get your hands on those small ones, feel free to use any size and cut them into medium chunks which I also do sometimes. If you are using baby potatoes, you need to take care of couple of things. First, the baby potatoes take significantly more time to cook completely than regular potatoes and to make things weirder, they again firm up once cooled. So, I would suggest to boil them in salted water until little overcooked; don’t worry, they will not disintegrate. Secondly, season them in 3 steps – first while boiling them in water, add lots of salt to the boiling water. Secondly, after peeling them, sprinkle salt and massage them well into the warm potatoes so that they soak the salt beautifully. Finally, at the end of cooking, do a taste test and adjust the seasoning only if needed. If you are an Indian, you might already be fond of dum aloo; now give this Bengali version of alur dom a try and I bet you won’t regret!
- Small round potatoes – 15-20
- Onion seeds – ½ tsp
- Cloves – 1 or 2
- Bay leaf – 1
- Paste of 2 big onions
- Ginger paste – 2 tsp
- Tomato – 1
- Yogurt – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric – ¼th tsp
- Cumin powder – 2 tsp
- Red chili powder – ½ to 1 tsp depending on your taste bud
- Garam masala – 1+1 tsp
- Fresh green coriander
- Salt to taste
- Sugar – ½ tsp
- Mustard oil - 4 tbsp
- Ghee (optional – lends a beautiful aroma)
- Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft (you can expedite this process by pressure cooking the potatoes). Once cool, peel the potatoes. The skin will come out very easily when the potatoes are boiled.
- Now heat the mustard oil in a wok/skillet. Temper the hot oil with onion seeds and let them crackle. Add the bay leaf and cloves and sauté for few seconds.
- Add the onion paste and a little sugar. Saute it till the onion turns pink. Add ginger paste and stir well.
- Once the onion paste is nicely sautéed and turn golden brown, add turmeric, cumin powder, red chili powder, half of the garam masala and yogurt.
- Fry on medium to high flame till the oil separates from the spices. Add the peeled potatoes now.
- Add a little water. It depends on the consistency you want. I added around 2 cups of water but boiled off the excess and retained about 1 cup later.
- Cover and let it cook on low for 10 minutes so that the potatoes absorb all the flavors.
- After 10 minutes, uncover the wok and sprinkle rest of the garam masala and drizzle the ghee. Keep it on high flame so that the gravy turns thick.
- Once the curry reaches your desired consistency, switch off the flame. Serve warm alur dom with luchi or Basmati rice!