In our school, it was a very common to see that a bunch of folks remained hungry with a box full of alur dum or ghugni at the end of the lunch hour. No, they didn’t pack those for their lunch. It was bought from Rani-Di. Rani-Di was distinctly different from her fellow colleagues. The crisp cotton sari, the curly long hair, the big red dot just in the middle of her forehead and a smile which was really a rare sight in our school made her stand out in the crowd, she was our Rani-Di.
Each day she used bring aloor dum, aloo kabli, ghugni and tetul or kuler acchar. Sometimes we had to wait in queue for the whole 30 minutes of our lunch time and didn’t even get time to eat it.
I used to urge my mom to make the same Aloo-r Dum. Based on my descriptions she tried multiple times but it never tasted the same. One day I asked Rani-Di and she told me to ask my mom to use garlic instead of ginger. Hence came the name.
- 250 gms. baby potatoes
- 6-7 fat cloves of garlic
- 1 large tomato
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tbsp. thick tamarind pulp
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 green chilies finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tsp. black salt
- 1 tbsp. bhaaja masala ( Dry roast and coarsely grind 1 tsp. cumin, 1tsp. coriander and 2 dry red chilies)
Peel baby potatoes and boil them in salt water for 2-3 minutes. Drain water and smear potatoes with a pinch of turmeric.
Heat oil in a pan and deep fry potatoes till they turn golden yellow. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.
Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a pan and add tomato garlic paste to it. Sauté on low heat till the raw smell goes off. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili powder to it. Fry on low heat till you see oil seeps from the edge.
Add fried potato along with tamarind pulp and fry them along with the spices. Season with salt and sugar. Add 1/4 cup of water to it. Mix well and let it simmer on low heat till potatoes are done. Keep an eye so that you don’t over cook them.
If required turn the heat on high and let the excess moisture dry out. This is a dry dish and at the end the potatoes will be just coated with the spice mixture.
Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro and green chilies. Sprinkle generous amount of bhaaja masala, little black salt and add a dash of tamarind juice just before serving.