1 hour 30 minutes
For boiling potatoes
- 1 kg new baby potatoes
- 1 L water
- 30 g salt
For the cooking
- 125 g onions
- 100 g tomatoes
- 10 g garlic
- 5 g ginger paste
- 50 g mustard oil
- 2 pc dried red chillies
- 2 pc bay leaves
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp ground Bengali gorom moshla
- 8–10 pc green chillies
- 50 g green peas
- 7 g salt
- 10 g sugar
- 450 ml hot water
Winter brings many gifts to Bengal, and notun aloo (new potato) is one of the most cherished. They are all over the bazars, covered in soil and sand, their skins flaking off—not an objectively pleasing sight—but to the starch-obsessed Bengali this is the pinnacle of potatoes. This new potato, along with the sweet winter peas that have arrived from Ranchi, makes for the most scrumptious alu'r dum.
- New potatoes are very hard, and need to be boiled for a long time with plenty of salt.
- In this recipe, we have used a mix of hot black chillies for heat, and long, thin green chillies for flavour. You can use what you have available.
- We have used tender, sweet, winter peas that are sold as "Ranchi peas" in Calcutta. Don't add these peas too early, or they'll lose their bright colour. They cook in a minute or two. If the peas you have are not tender, you can add them along with the potatoes.
- Scrub off the skin of the new baby potatoes. Transfer them to a boiling pot. Add water and salt. Cover and boil until tender (40 minutes). Once done, drain the water and set aside.
- Slice onions. Roughly chop tomatoes. Slit green chillies. Mince garlic.
- Add mustard oil to the kadai. Once it turns pale yellow, temper with dried red chillies, bay leaf, and cumin seeds.
- Add onions. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Let the onions soften and turn brown slowly.
- Add tomatoes. Cover and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
- Add garlic, turmeric, kashmiri red chilli powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Sauté the spices on low heat.
- Add ginger paste. Add hot black chillies. Continue braising until the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency.
- Add salt and sugar. Mix well. Add boiled potatoes. Stir to coat the potatoes with the spices.
- Add hot water. Simmer, covered, on medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Add whole green chillies and peas. Finish with gorom moshla.