Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bhoger Alur Dom

The legend has it that the best Khichuri / khichdi in Bengal is served in Belur Math on the day of Durgashtami as the bhog Prasad to all the disciples and the people who go there to observe the puja.  What they serve with the khichuri is a big nice dollop of Alur Dom. But sadly I have never tasted them myself. It’s all too crowded there on this day so I have never made it to Belur Math during puja. My memory of Bhoger Alur Dom comes from the bhog, my mother made during the Laxmi Puja in home and from the prasads we used to get during Durga Puja,  Kali Puja, Jagadhatri Puja and Manasha Puja, and not to forget the very famous place we live so close by, “Mayer Bari”.

how to cook bhoger alur dom bengali style

dum alu recipe with cashew nuts paste bengali style

No matter how delighting the dinner or lunch menu is, Bhoger Khichuri and Alur Dom taste heavenly every time. They have this unique festive taste which you will get nowhere else. I once asked ma about it, and she said that she used Cashew nuts paste to get this sweetness and creaminess. But over the years of experiment and of course interrogating my mother has lead me to the fact that there is much more to that rather than just the cashew nuts paste.

how to cook bengali dum aloo with cashew nuts paste recipe
Fry the boiled potatoes until golden brown.
how to cook bengali aloor dom with cashew nuts paste recipe
Once done keep all of them aside.
how to cook bhoger alur dom recipe
Temper the oil with cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chillies and bay leaf and put in the tomatoes in it.
doi die alur dom recipe bengali style
Cook till the tomatoes are mushy and add in the spice mixed yogurt.
On every  Durgashtami we used to go the Baghbazar Sarbojonin Puja Mandap to eat the bhog Prasad. It used to be crowded like hell. But still we went there with the whole family and qued to get into the shed where the Prasad is being served. There we had to stand behind small thinly benches and over that bench they would serve bhog on dried leaf plates (hal patar plate). One by one they would come with a medium sized aluminium bucket full of khichdi, bhaja (fries), alur dom, labra (mashed vegetable curry) , fulkopir torkari (cauliflower curry),  payesh (rice kheer) and chutney. Vapour would start to rise from the food as soon as they were poured upon our plate and we had to hurry to finish them off. Mother had strict restriction that we can throw none. On that hot weather, sweating from every part of the body and a large crowd standing outside the pandal waiting for the Prasad, we had to be quick and we ate like hungry cows.

dum aloo recipe pure vegetarian with cashew nuts paste without onion and garlic
Once a gravy is formed add in water and the cashew nut and melond seeds paste.
bengali style bhoger alur dom recipe kaju bata die
Add the fried potatoes.
how to cook bengali dum aloo with step by step pictures recipe with cashew nuts and melon seeds pate kaju bata charmogoj dana die
Add the green peas and cook till the oil starts to float on top of the gravy.
dum aloo recipe  bengali style

A man would come again to ask if we need something again and then leave. After eating there used to be a larger crowd for throwing the plate and cleaning the hands. It seemed like the Sealdah Railway station on office hours. But still we managed to do everything and made it back to home. Quite a deal it was but the khichdi and the alur dom had the power to keep us all running!! J

easy dum aloo recipe bengali style

Bhoger Alur Dom
Serves 6

pujor alur dom recipe

700gm baby potatoes / 7-9 medium potatoes
2 tomatoes – chopped
3-4 whole green chillies
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
½ cup boiled green peas
1 inch stick of ginger – finely chopped
½ cup thick yogurt – whisked
8-9 cashew nuts
2 tsp melon seeds
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 large bay leaf
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp bhaja mosla (dry roast cumin seed, coriander seed, dry red chillies and black pepper corns for 2 minute and then grind them to a fine powder. Keep in an airtight container and use accordingly.)
¼ cup mustard oil

Boil the potatoes in water with some salt until they are soft from inside. But they should retain their shape and be firm in texture. After boiling cool them down and peel off their skin. Poke them slightly with a fork and keep aside.
Using a grinder make a smooth paste of the cashew nuts and melon seeds with some water. Make sure no grain remain in that paste. Once done, keep the paste aside.
Heat oil in a kadai and deep dry the potatoes until they are nicely brown from outside. Once done take them out of the kadai and put in a bowl. Frying is very important. Do not skip this step. It gives a smokey flavour to the dum aloo.
In the same kadai keep only 1 tbsp oil for cooking and take out the rest of the oil.
Into that oil add in the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, bay leaf and dry red chillies. As they start to sizzle and splutter add in the chopped tomatoes and chopped ginger to them.
Stir and cook the tomatoes until they turn mushy and start to release oil from them.
Now put off the flame and take the whisked yogurt. Mix in the cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder, salt, sugar and bhaja mosla to it and pour the mixture into the cooked tomatoes.
Mix in and put the flame low. Keep cooking until a nice gravy is formed.
Now add ½ cup of water to the curry and pour in the prepared cashew nuts and melon seeds paste into it.
Mix in and let the mixture start bubbling. As soon as they start to bubble add in the boiled and fried potatoes and boiled green peas to them.
Mix, so that all the potatoes are nicely coated with the gravy and then put cover.
Cook covered for 2-4 minutes or until the gravy is nice and thick and the oil has started to float on top of it.
Put off the flame and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves over them.

Serve hot with luchi / paratha / ruti / khichdi. 

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