Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Semi-Baked Ideas..err Potatoes (Aloo Dum Pukht)

The produce store that we frequent is pretty predictable. And sparse, to say the least. But that's what we have, and he stays open much later than the farmer's markets in our neighborhood, so we just go him- most of the time. That means we pretty much have to choose between cabbage, cauliflower and bell peppers! So my excitement knew no bounds when I saw him expanding his selection beyond this. The story today begins the day I found these cute, precious, rosy baby potatoes in this sorry excuse of a produce store. I brought them home and they found their way in almost everything I cooked till the kids revolted against potatoes of any kind! I firmly believe that potatoes are the bestest thing ever created. My dad used to tell me that the first food word I ever learned to speak was 'wahwah'; and it referred to potatoes- boiled and mashed with a hint of salt, pepper and butter. I've grown up many decades since then, but potatoes still comprise the widest part of my food pyramid. I love them unconditionally, in all form, color and size. With these baby potatoes, I wanted to recreate another childhood favorite dish from my mom's recipes (of course..). At the same time, I've been attempting to eat healthier. So here you have my version of my mom's Aloo Dum Pukht.
Aloo Dum Pukht
Baby red potatoes 1lb Home made yogurt 1 cup Onion 1 medium, chopped Tomato 2 medium, chopped Green chillies 4-6, per taste, chopped Ginger 1 inch slice, chopped Salt to taste Red pepper powder to taste Dhania powder 1tsp Garam masala 1tsp Oil 1tbsp + 1/2tbsp
  1. Wash and cut the baby potatoes into halves, with their skin on. Dry them with a paper towel. Toss them with a pinch of salt and about a 1/2 tbsp oil. Shake to coat.
  2. Preheat the oven to roast at 400 degrees. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking dish and roast for about 20 min., turning them once in between. By this time the potatoes are semi-done. (In the original recipe, my mom used to poke holes in the whole potatoes and deep fry them).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. In a heavy bottomed pan, saute the onions till translucent. Add the tomatoes, and all the spices. Cover and cook till the moisture evaporates.
  4. Now, add the dahi (yogurt) and 1/2 cup water. Turn down the heat and cook on the stove top for 1-2 min.
  5. Pour this gravy over your semi-baked potatoes, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 20-25 min. Check to see that the potatoes are cooked completely before taking out of the oven.
My two cents: This dish is pure heaven when served with warm parathas or missi roti. Roasting them eliminated deep frying, but the crispiness was still intact. My mom slow steamed them for the dum in a pressure cooker without putting its weight on, the old fashioned way- not that it made any difference, in my opinion.
 This recipe is updated for the
LYRO-Potato event of Sindhi Rasoi.
Crazy For potatoes event @ Nivedhanam

Friday, April 9, 2010

Extreme Makeover- Leftover edition. Knead I say more?

My blog was going to be all about the new stuff that I tried out in my kitchen. After all, no one wanted to know how I cooked everyday dinner. It was all so basic, or so I thought, till I came across Daisyblue's announcement of Leftover Delicacies event.
Ever since then, I've been itching to write this piece. I've opened and closed the page many times, trying to ignore the temptation. Today I am finally giving in. You see, A has been away a lot this past month, and we've been inundated with leftovers. After weeks of living off the fridge, finally I threw the last box in the dishwasher yesterday and look forward to eating something 'fresh' tonight. But more on that later...This post is not going to be a recipe, I warn you. There is no way I can concoct a "recipe" for what I'm going to tell you. So what do I do with those little extra packets of food. Some of my thoughts are no brainers - like the fried rice from leftover rice. And I also do a chawal ki sabzi and chawal ke parathe. But Daisyblue said no rice recipes, so that's out for now. Most of my gravy-less veggie preps get converted to sandwich fillings or take on fancy avatars of kababs and tikkis for breakfast. My most exciting piece of conversion comes from the leftover soups and dals. You see, I really get a kick out of kneading all of these into the flour and making parathas and puris. So this is what my entry in the event is going to be.

Urad-chane ki dal ka paratha
To make these, you have to incorporate the dal or soup in the atta during kneading.
Let the dough rest for about 10 min, knead it again and roll out the rotis/puris.
You'll need to dust the rotis frequently as the dough gets pretty sticky. E
ither cook them on a skillet with a bit of oil to make parathas, or deep fry them as puris.

I really love to make them as these breads come out very soft, and taste divine with raita and achaar like my Gobhi-shalgam ka achaar. Plus I don't have to worry too much when the kids want to eat just the roti, without anything to go with them, since the dal is in there already. So go ahead, knead a dough with anything liquid and sticky and make these delish parathas. And if you already knew this, well- I warned you in the beginning, didn't I?

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I love Facebook. It was here that I found my childhood friends and rekindled long-forgotten memories. We got back to calling each other those elementary school nicknames; laughed at our teachers again and extolled virtues of the school we hated in a not-so-recent past. And then, I hate FB. It was here I found my childhood friends and discovered that they were not those only the pranksters I knew. They all had lives and talents and expertise that I only dream of - jetsetting, media savvy, artistic bunch was what I found along with the goofiness that I’d been expecting. So I have no idea why I was surprised to find out that some of those old friends were also accomplished cooks at home. Their updates about food they cook made me turn green (but I’m definitely not the envious kind, I assure you). And then, when the pictures appeared, I turned greener. For not only were these aforementioned friends great cooks (or chefs, if you please), but they’re all great photographers. And what are all those exotic sounding foods and breads that they make? 

In one of my revved up “green” moment, I’d decided to bake the bread that a FB friend had on her page. I gathered all the ingredients…but then never had the courage to try her recipe. You see, I’m not very confident or adventurous around the little space in my house we call the kitchen. Whenever I saw her post another bread recipe, a little voice inside my head reminded me of the little packets of yeast sitting in my pantry. And I gave both the voice and my friend’s FB updates a cold shoulder. And then, I recently came across this recipe that was way too tempting to ignore. I had all the ingredients, so it was all a matter of picking up the courage and diving in. That was my project, this last weekend! I’ve pretty much followed the recipe to a T, except for the yeast proofing part. Also, I was too impatient to wait for the flour to rise the second time! The buns did come out excellent nevertheless, and I got over my FB greens without much stress :-).
Stuffed Veggie buns
For the dough:
All purpose flour 1 cup
Whole wheat flour ½ cup
Parsley 1 small bunch, chopped
Baking powder 1tsp
Salt 1tbsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Warm water ½ cup
Active dry Yeast 1tsp
Milk as needed
For the filling
Frozen Mixed veggies ½ cup thawed
Boiled potato 1
Salt, pepper to taste
Amchoor powder ½ tsp
Cumin seeds ½ tsp
Oil for tempering

  1. Add the sugar and yeast to warm water and keep aside for 15 min.
  2. In the meanwhile, sift the flours together and add the salt, baking powder and chopped up parsley to this. I also preheated the oven to WARM at this time.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast-mix to it. Bring it all together slowly and make soft, pliable dough. Add warm milk as needed. Grease an oven-proof bowl and put the dough in this, cover with an oiled plastic wrap, and keep inside the oven for an hour. You can turn off the oven and just let the dough rest in the warmth.
  4. Prepare the filling meanwhile. I tempered the cumin seeds in a bit of oil, added my veggies, potato and spices to coat. Then allow the filling to cool.
  5. After 1h, the dough had doubled up and was very soft with holes on the outside. Punch down the dough, quickly divide into 6 balls. Flatten one ball with your hands, put the filling in the center and close the edges tightly. Flatten the filled ball again slightly. Repeat with all the six balls of dough.
  6. Keep all the filled buns on a greased oven-proof plate, about 2 inches apart. You can sprinkle them with poppy or sesame seeds now, but I didn’t have any
  7. Allow them to rise again in a warm oven for 1h- this is where I was impatient and only waited 20 min.
  8. Brush the tops with a little milk and butter. Bake them at 350F, until golden brown.
My two cents: The buns came out as well as the original post promised; but I do wish I'd allowed them to rise a bit more. Wonder what they'd have tasted like then.... I am sending this to YeastSpotting- the weekly cooking with yeast event, and to Lets Do Brunch..