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Spud Sunday: Of Spice And Spud

Potatoes Cooked With Cashew Nuts (Aloo Dum)

Aloo Dum

This is slightly modified from a recipe in Atul Kochhar’s Indian Essence [1].

The recipe as given in the book is for potatoes cooked with melon seeds. However, not having any melon seeds, I used the suggested alternative of cashew nuts. I have also reduced the amount of oil used and skipped the initial frying of the potatoes. There are a couple of other minor tweaks, based on the ingredients I had to hand, but the essence of this wonderfully aromatic sauce remains.

You’ll need:
  • 2 tblsp cashew nuts
  • vegetable oil for frying (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 2 medium onions, about 300g, thinly sliced
  • 500-600g baby new potatoes or any waxy variety of potato
  • 375g natural yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tsp chopped ginger root
  • 0.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 0.25 cayenne pepper
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 0.5 tsp fennel seeds
  • Seeds from 3 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander plus extra for garnish
You’ll also need:
  • A blender or food processor for blending parts of the sauce plus a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
The Steps:
  • Soak the cashew nuts in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain and blend to a paste using a blender or mini food processor.
  • Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add about 2 tblsp of oil. Add the onions and stir and fry until softened and starting to brown, around 10-15 minutes. Remove and leave to drain and cool on a paper towel.
  • Meanwhile, scrub and peel the potatoes. If using baby new potatoes, you can leave them whole. For larger potatoes, cut into slices around 1cm thick.
  • In a blender or food processor, blend the fried onions and yoghurt until smooth.
  • Heat another tblsp of oil in the frying pan and add the garlic and ginger. Stir and fry over a medium heat until golden brown, around 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne to the pan, stir briefly, then add the yoghurt and onion mix and the cashew nut paste. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
  • Add the potatoes, water and salt, bring back to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Meanwhile, toast the cinnamon, fennel and cardamom in a small heavy frying pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then grind to a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  • When the potatoes are cooked through, add the toasted spice powder and chopped coriander and stir to mix.
  • You could serve this, garnished with additional fresh coriander, alongside other Indian dishes and breads. I also fancy that this could be used to accompany a simple piece of steamed white fish or chicken.
The Variations:
  • You could certainly cook other veg or meat in this sauce along with the spuds – chicken, I think, would work well, or chunks of juicy paneer along with some green beans or peas perhaps.
The Results:
  • Serves 2-3 as side-dish.