I write this post in the middle of the Hindu festive period of Navratri, so I felt it might be the best time to introduce Dahi Aalu (potatoes in a yoghurt-based curry) at a time when they are enjoyed a fair bit, especially in Northern India.
Many devout Hindus fast during these 9 days - not in the same sense as Ramadan - but they abstain from eating certain foods and/or limit the number of meals they eat. For example, onions, garlic, and meats etc., might be off the menu in many households during that time. If you are interested to learn more about them, this is a good link. It doesn't quite cover the "why" behind why these foods are to be avoided, but it gives you a sense of what to expect. Not every community will follow it to a T though; everyone has their own take on it, and some items may come in and out. If you want a Quora based answer, this one is pretty decent as well.
Anyway, coming back to the dish - I am happy to report that this dish is suitable if one is fasting. Even outside of the context of fasting, it's quite a nice dish to enjoy. It's balanced, it's flavourful and best of all, incredibly simple to prepare. During the fasting months, a very common pairing is flat-breads made using Buckwheat or water-chestnut flour, something we hope to cover soon in our blog.
Here are some relevant metrics for the recipe
Difficulty - Easy.
Prep time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 25 minutes.
Servings - 4.
Potatoes - 3 Large. Boiled, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes.
Curd/Yogurt - 1 cup, whisked.
Water - 1 cup
Ghee/Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Paneer/Cottage cheese - 200g. This is optional.
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1tsp (or adjust to taste)
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1", finely chopped.
Green chilli - 1. This is optional.
Coriander - For garnishing
Firstly, in a thick-bottomed pot, heat Ghee and saute the coriander seeds and ginger until they are aromatic.
If you are adding the green chilli, add and saute well.
Keeping the heat high, add around 2tsp of potatoes (yes, not all of them) to the pot and fry them nicely. We add some potatoes beforehand to prevent the yoghurt from curdling.
Now, add the whisked curd.
Stir continuously on high heat till the curd combines well. Wait until the curd comes to a boil. At this point in time, we can stop stirring regularly. Continue giving it occasional stirs until the oil separates.
Now add the potatoes and salt.
Add Garam Masala, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and mix well.
Mix well, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the potatoes absorb all the flavour.
Add the Paneer in now. The paneer does not need a lot of time so we will only let it rest for a few minutes before turning off the heat.
Now, add as much water as you feel is necessary to achieve the required thickness of the gravy. Allow it to come to a boil before reducing the heat down to low for a few minutes before turning it off altogether.
That's it; your Dahi Aalu is ready. Bon appetite. As always, I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments down below. See you in the next one.