Baby potatoes, boiled just until fork tender and then sautéed in spices until the sauce gets thick and coats all over. Bengali Aloo Dum (Spiced Baby Potatoes) is a quintessential Bengali weekend breakfast, often paired with luchi (fried mini flat bread). This is a simple dum aloo recipe prepared with onion, garlic and lots of aromatic spices. This Bengali style dum aloo is a favourite in many household and often you can even find it as a Kolkata street food during morning hours to feed the hungry souls on the go.
Bengali Breakfast – Aloo Dum!
Bengalis don’t have a wide range of breakfast options. It’s often bread or ruti with leftover curry. Of course that was never my choice of breakfast and I used to settle with cereal or toast. But on weekends and festive season, an indulging breakfast spread shows up on the table. One of them is this Bengali Dum Aloo. Ma would at times ignore the onion garlic and make it Niramish Aloo Dum. In other words, pure vegetarian Spiced Potato Stew.
I would gobble up the breakfast as fast as I could, which was a rare scene. Because I was always a slow eater. I could hear my brother say, “So you can eat fast?” I wouldn’t care to respond, I was just too excited to go for shopping. My Dad was ready, he has promised me 8 outfits and two pairs of shoes. No kidding! 4 days of Durga Puja meant 2 new outfits per day, one for morning and one for evening. Yes, that’s the ritual. My brother never cared for new clothes but my excitement was always at heights, especially during this time of the year.
Bengali Aloo Dum is different from North Indian Aloo Sabzi
Every region has their fav potato stew. I love the rustic North Indian Aloo Sabzi just as much as I love this baby potato stew Bengali Aloo Dum (spiced baby potato stew) is a little different from the North Indian version, mainly in terms of spices that goes in and also the variety of potato that is used. In North Indian Aloo Sabzi, big size potatoes would be roughly broken and added in the stew where as in Aloo Dum Bengali style, it’s always with baby potatoes.
We kids would help Mom by peeling those boiled baby potatoes and then Mom would make a super quick stew coated with cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and some whole spices. Depending on the size of the baby potatoes, she would leave those whole or cut in half. I often like it the way I made here, not loaded with gravy. But then Mom would always keep it saucier.
Durga Puja is next week and my craze for shopping is totally taken over by my craze for cooking, feeding and eating! With the arrival of autumn and the sudden weather change, this meal fits right in!
- 1 lb./500 gm baby potatoes
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon Indian Five Spice, paanch phoron
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- finely chopped cilantro for garnish
- Boil the baby potatoes with lots of salt and then peel the skin off. Keep it aside.
- Place a heavy bottom saucepan at medium heat and drizzle the mustard oil. When the oil heats up, drop the paanch phoron, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and sugar. Give it a couple of seconds for the spices to sizzle and the sugar to caramelize. Then, scatter the onion, ginger and sprinkle the salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, stir and cook for 3 minutes.
- Take a bowl and add turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and chili powder along with 2 tablespoons of water. Give it a mix and pour it to the pan. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until you see the oil being released from the corner of the pan.
- Drop the boiled potatoes and stir to coat the spice mix evenly. Cook for 2 minutes and pour enough water to dunk the potatoes. Crank up the heat on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Then, lower the heat to medium and let it simmer 5 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala powder and let it cook for 3 more minutes. Check for salt at this point and add any, if required.
- I like it semi gravy so I stop cooking here and let it sit for a while before serving. If you prefer it with lots of gravy, add more water and let it cook for some more time.
- It tastes best when served warm.
I used tomato paste only because I like the rich color it gives. You can always replace it with 2 medium juicy tomatoes.