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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Aloo Jhol / Aloo - Tamatar ki Jhol

I have eaten this aloo jhol in my sister in law's home a few times, cooked by her husband who happens to be from Uttar Pradesh. I had no idea what it was called then but it turned out to be aloo jhol. Aloo jhol meaning a thin potato gravy has it's origin in Uttar Pradesh and the dish is cooked in the neighboring regions as well. It is one of the popular dishes to pair with pooris in the region and I guess it is their version of potato masala. At first glance, a south Indian style potato masala and this jhol may appear similar because of the ingredients used. However with a couple of extra additions, aloo jhol differs distinctively taste wise from aloo bhaji. 

The dish is quite simple and easy in terms of preparation and uses just the basic ingredients found in any Indian pantry. Garlic can be included in the preparation though it was not added in the version I had eaten before. Add a little amchur / dry mango powder if preferring the curry to be a little tangy. I cooked the curry in a kadai, a small Indian version wok but the final stage of cooking potatoes can be done in a pressure cooker too for a quick version. Or the potatoes can be boiled in a microwave while the onions and tomatoes are getting cooked and then added to hasten the preparation. The consistency of the curry was thinner in my sister in law's place but mine looks thicker as I mashed a few potato pieces since my husband prefers the curry that way.

2 - 3 tsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. ginger paste / finely grated ginger
1 green chilli, chopped
1 big or 2 small onions, chopped fine (I had about 2/3 cup.)
1 tomato, finely chopped (About 1/2 cup)
Turmeric to taste
Salt to taste
2 big sized potatoes (2 heaped cups of cubed potatoes)
Chili powder to taste
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
Cilantro to garnish

* Heat oil in a pan and ad cumin seeds. When they start to brown add ginger and green chilli. Saute for few seconds and add onion. Cook until onion turns translucent and then add tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes turn mushy.
* Add turmeric, salt, chili powder, roasted coriander powder to the pan and mix well. 
* Next add peeled and cubed potatoes and about 2 cups of water to the pan. Cook on medium flame until the potatoes turn soft. Add  1/4 cup more water if needed at the final stages of the cooking. 
* Finally sprinkle garam masala and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonigs if needed. Simmer for a couple of minutes more.
* Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Dilli ki Aloo Chaat

This aloo chaat from Vaishali has been on my to do list for a long time as I wanted a local and authentic take on the dish. Aloo chaat is a chatpata snack born on the lanes of  Delhi and obviously aloo or potato plays the key role in this dish. There are variations in this dish, some served with chutneys and some come with the addition of other vegetables and fruits. In this version, the boiled potato cubes are fried on a griddle using a generous amount of oil and then sprinkled with kala chaat masala, a spice mix unique to the city. Vaishali had come up with her own spice mix to mimic this kala chaat masala taste. The quantities were not mentioned in the original recipe as the spice powders can be added to suit one's taste. I made it on a spicier side and used an air fryer to keep the chaat guilt free.

Potatoes, peeled and cubed
Oil to fry
Black salt
Red chili powder
Yellow chili powder
Black pepper powder
Roasted cumin powder
A pinch of powdered sugar
Lemon juice
Tamarind water

* Boil the potato cubes and drain. Fry the potato cubes on a griddle until crisp. (I brushed potato cubes with oil instead and used air fryer to fry potato pieces.)
* Transfer the fried potato cubes to a wide bowl.
* Next mix and add all the spice powders and salt to the fried potatoes, according to taste. Toss the potatoes well to coat.
* Drizzle lemon juice and tamarind water over the potatoes and toss one more time. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
* Serve immediately.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Batate Thoy

Batate thoy is a traditional Konkani side dish made with potatoes and is prepared along the lines of a dali thoy recipe. The lentils in the latter is replaced with potatoes here and made into a thin soupy or a rasam consistency. This batate thoy needs only minimal ingredients and there is not even addition of turmeric to make it look vibrant. However in spite of it's dismal looks, batate thoy makes a delicious side dish to go with rice if the dish is kept on a spicier side. 
 It can be loosely dubbed as a potato saaru or rasam though no lentils or any spice powders are used. This thoy comes handy when one runs out of vegetables or looking to make something easy and quick. The potato lends the thickness to this dish though it is kept on a thinner side. The cooked potato can be mashed very finely or coarsely if one wishes to see pieces and bits of potatoes while eating. 
1 big sized potato (About 1 cup cubed potato)
1 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 or 2 green chillies
1 or 2 dried red chillies, broken into bits
2 or 3 pinches of asafoetida powder
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste
Cilantro (optional)

* Peel and cube the potato and cook until soft. (I cooked the potato cubes in a microwave adding about 3/4 cup water.)
* Mash the potato cubes without discarding the water used to cook. They can be either mashed finely or crumbled leaving some bits of potatoes as I did.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, add chillies and saute for few seconds. Then add asafoetida and curry leaves. 
* Then add the mashed potatoes along with the water used to cook the potatoes and salt. Add some more water to make it thinner, a consistency similar to that of a rasam or thinner soup. (I added about 1 and 1/4 cups of water.)
* Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat. Add cilantro leaves if using and simmer for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove.
* Serve hot with rice.