We ended up watching a travel show yesterday featuring the local cuisine of Rajasthan. Now, for those of you acquainted with that region or have explored the food of that place, you would be aware that the food of this region boasts of the best spice dishes around in India. The cuisine of Rajasthan comprises of a delectable mix of dried vegetables and spices.
Being a desert region, fresh produce was rare and hence, people started preserving vegetables when in season by either drying or pickling. This set the base for the cuisine of Rajasthan. Of course, while the food has a strong vegetarian influence, non-vegetarian dishes are famous too – specially lamb. Whole spices and yoghurt set the base for almost all dishes in Rajasthan. I am a bit unsure of the history of spice use in Rajasthan but I definitely have a plan for researching the history of the cuisine of this region – especially the Royal cuisine.
The show yesterday that we were watching showcased the royal cuisine of Rajasthan and one particular dish caught my father’s fancy…It was called “Aachari Aloo” which translates as “Pickled potato”. Now, my father loves cooking too and Sunday’s are usually the days when he experiments in the kitchen. He ended up making a version of the Aachari Aloo with a bit of modifications from his end. So, this isn’t exactly an original recipe but we found it rather interesting and thought it would definitely be of interest to anyone who would love to cook a rather simple and quick potato vegetable replete with a sense of India and the taste of Rajasthan.
Here’s sharing the recipe of my Dad’s version of Aachari Aloo.
Cubed and par-boiled Potatoes – 3 Nos. [Add a bit of salt to the potatoes when par-boiling them]
Peeled whole Garlic cloves – 12-15 small nos
Finely Slivered Ginger – 1 inch piece
Vegetable oil – 5-6 tablespoons
Mustard Seeds – 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons
Asafoetida – 5-6 pinches or ½ teaspoon
Dried Red chillies – 4-5 nos.
Red chilli powder – 2 teaspoons
Turmeric powder – 1 ½ teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Roasted cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 teaspoon
Dry mango powder [Aamchur] – ½ teaspoon
Dried Fenugreek leaves – 1 tablespoon
- Heat the oil in a cooking pot.
- Add the asafoetida powder.
- Add in the mustard seeds and wait till they crackle.
- Next, add in the cumin seeds and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the dried red chillies now and fry for another couple of minutes.
- Add in the slivered ginger and fry for about a minute.
- Finally, add in the peeled garlic cloves and fry for a couple of minutes again.
- Add in the spice powders of turmeric, red chilli, roasted coriander, roasted cumin and sauté for a couple of minutes till the mixture is a homogenous mixture.
- Add in the potato cubes and salt and mix well.
- Cook for a couple of minutes while stirring constantly to avoid burning the vegetable. Ideally, all the cooking is to be done on a medium flame. I don’t advocate high-flame cooking just to save time. Slow cooking is where all the spice flavours get released optimally.
- Finally, crush the dried fenugreek leaves and sprinkle over the vegetable being cooked.
- Sprinkle the dried mango powder too and mix well.
- Usually no water is needed if you slow cook. However, should you feel that the spices are sticking to the base, add in a tablespoon of water to the vegetable to just bring it all together.
- Serve hot with either Parathas or Rotis.