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Dum Aloo

Posted by Vinod PV on

Dum Aloo is a creamy curry, usually made with baby potatoes, were the potatoes are slow cooked in a spicy sauce in a sealed vessel. This cooking method is referred to as ‘dum’. The vessel is closed with a tight lid and sealed with a dough made of wheat flour and water, hence making the vessel airtight. The steam created in the dish condensates into water, thereby cooking the potatoes and the slow cooking process lets the potatoes absorb all the flavor from the curry.

I had planned on making this dish for quite a while now, but I didn’t want to go through the dough making/sealing process, and decided to use a slow cooker instead. I secured the lid of the slow cooker with pieces of tape, so that it was air tight. Traditionally, the potatoes are fried prior to being cooked in dum, either shallow fried or deep fried. But I added the potatoes raw, since I cooked it on low heat for about 8 hours. Yes, I set it up at night, before I went to bed and had it ready next morning. Packed it for lunch with some rotis and it was yummy.

The process is very simple and literally hands free. The slow cooker is my best friend to make atleast one meal during the weekday. I make all kinds of things using it. Here are some ideas for using a slow cooker to make Indian meals.

  • Dals/Legume based curries
  • Sambar
  • BisibeleBaath – one of my favorite recipes for slow cooker
  • Arisi paruppu sadham – a cousin of bisi bele bath
  • Paruppu Payasam(Lentil jiggery dessert)
  • Carrot halwa

I will post the recipes for these very soon. But here is the recipe for dum aloo using slow cooker:

10-12 baby potatoes(or as many as can fit your slow cooker in one layer)
1 large onion, sliced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp raisins(optional)
1 tbsp kasoori methi
4 green chillies, slit
1 tsp oil(optional)
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida/hing
1/ 3cup water
1/2 cup thick plain yogurt(greek yogurt would also work fine)
Salt to taste
Cilantro, chopped for garnish.

Scrub and peel the baby potatoes. Prick all over with a fork. This step is important so that the potatoes absorb all the flavors of the curry.

Add a tsp of oil to the base of your crock pot and brush it on all the bottom and sides. This is optional  – to prevent the curry from sticking and to aid the potatoes in getting a sear. You can spray with a non stick cooking spray instead, or just omit this step. Add the potatoes in a single layer on to the bottom of the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on HIGH and leave it on until you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Slice the onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Layer this on top of the potaotes. Top this with the whole garam masala: cinnamon, cloves bay leaf. Top this with the spice powders and salt: garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt. Add enough water to reach half way through the potatoes, but no so much to cover it.

Close the lid of slow cooker, set it to low, tape the lid such that it is airtight and cook for 8-10 hours.(When you tape the lid this way, there will be moisture collected due to condensation that will cook the potatoes, so your potatoes won’t burn.)

Switch off the slow cooker and carefully remove the lid. Add the raisins, kasoori methi and the yogurt and mix to combine. The residual heat from the crockpot will cook the yogurt. No need to keep it on. If kept on, the yogurt may curdle when added. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with roti or pulav.

Verdict: The curry was creamy and potatoes were cooked to perfection. The potatoes had absorbed every bit of flavor from the spices during the slow cooking  of 8 hours and tasted fabulous. The taste of the curry itself was well balanced with the tartness of the yogurt with the sweet bite from raisins and the mild bitterness from the kasoori methi. A easy dish to place on a table for a party. 

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