Mamta's Kitchen

Potato Curry 4, Dum Aloo

Dum Alu Rasedar 4

Yashoda Gupta

The word Dum means cooking food in a pot with a tight, sealed lid. My mum used to seal the lid with a little dough and place a few hot coals on top of the lid. This retained the steam inside and the food was cooked on a low, even heat, slowly. Biryanies are often finished off this way too. This effect can also be achieved by cooking a dish in an oven. Pans these days have lids that fit tightly and the Dum dishes can be cooked on a low heat quite satisfactorily. This is my mum's old recipe, with minor modifications. She used to make it for special occasions or when my parents had a party. We used to love it, helping with preparing the potatoes and then tasting-Mamta. Serves 4-6

Edited January 2017


  • 500 gm. medium and even sized potatoes (you can make it with leftover roast potatoes

  • Oil for deep frying the potatoes

  • Curry Gravy

  • 3-4 tbsp. oil

  • 2 medium sized onions, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled (optional)

  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds or ‘post’ or khus-khus

  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped or use tinned tomatoes

  • 1/2-3/4 cup sour cream or creamy yoghurt* (home made yoghurt can be 'hung' in muslin for an hour, to make it creamy

  • Whole spices:

  • 1 tsp. cumin seedsâ— (jeera)

  • 1 tsp. fennel seedsâ— (saunf)

  • 2 bay leavesâ— (tej-patta)

  • 3 large brown/black cardamomsâ— (bari/badi illaichi)

  • 2 inch piece cinnamon stickâ—

  • 4-5 clovesâ— (laung or lavang)

  • 6 black peppercornsâ— (kali mirch)

  • Ground spices:

  • A pinch of asafoetida powder or hing (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric or haldi

  • 1 tbsp. coriander or dhania powder

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder

  • Salt to taste

  • Other ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

  • 2 tbsp. cream

  • â—If you don't have whole spices, use 1 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala instead, but this should be added when cooking is finished, at step 11.


  1. Peel and wash potatoes. Prick each one with a fork in several places. Towel dry.

  2. Heat oil and fry on moderately high heat until golden to light brown. Keep aside.

  3. Making Curry Gravy:

  4. Grind onion, ginger, garlic and poppy seeds to a paste. Keep aside.

  5. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add all the whole spices marked â—; cumin, fennel seeds, bay leaves, asafoetida powder, cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves, 6 black peppercorns.

  6. When cumin seeds crackle or darken, add onion ginger and garlic mix and stir-fry until onion is beginning to brown and the oil separates.

  7. Add ground spices, salt and tomatoes and continue stir-frying until oil separates.

  8. Add the yoghurt* and continue to stir until oil separates again.

  9. Cooking the potatoes

  10. Add the fried potatoes and green chillies. Stir till the vegetables are coated with the spices and begin to stick a little to the pan.

  11. Add just enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer until potatoes are cooked through and the gravy is well blended. This dish should have a gravy that clings to the potatoes.

  12. If you are using garam masala instead of whole spices*, add it now.

  13. Just before serving, re-heat. If you have cooked it in advance, the gravy may thicken a little as it cools. It may need a little additional water during heating.

  14. Add cream and half the coriander leaves.

  15. Mix and transfer to a bowl and garnish with remaining coriander leaves.

  16. Serve with fresh Parathas or Chapatties.


  • *A few tips for cooking with yoghurt :

  • Always use full fat yoghurt, if possible. Skimmed milk yoghurt sometimes curdles during cooking. If you wish to use low fat yoghurt, add 1 heaped teaspoon of plain or corn flour per cup of yoghurt.

  • Make sure that the yoghurt is at room temperature. If chilled yoghurt straight from the fridge is added to a hot dish, it may curdle.

  • Or, take out a few tablespoons of the hot food in a bowl, mix yoghurt, warming it a bit and then stir it back into the hot dish.

  • Substitute sour cream for yoghurt, using only half the amount.

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