Rich blend of spices – sookhi aloo ki sabji
Lot of good things happen in Mahabaleshwar. One of the finest things is – something about that place makes people want to cook.
The kitchen is airy and has huge windows opening out to our kitchen garden. The fact that it’s a biggish sized kitchen also makes it easier to have people milling around and experimenting with various home grown and organic ingredients.
I had my cousin uncle and aunt over. The fact that he is my age does not deter me from calling him uncle. Some childhood habits just don’t get out of your system.
Kunal’s father my grand dad’s brother, was a legendary cook. After he passed away, Kunal was craving for his dad’s aloo, and managed to hunt down the recipe. He tried it and it turned out exactly like his father’s.
I hope in time, he manages to scavenge a few more recipes. I firmly believe that family recipes should be handed down into capable hands.
While making it I was warned not to balk at the number and quantity of ingredients going in. “It’s a recipe with excesses”, Kunal told me. “The flavours just explode in your mouth one after the other!”
My eyes did open wide a couple of times when he lavishly put in the spices and flavours. And a few times I had to take a deep breath and just wait for the outcome. Kunal comes from a very refined cooking lineage, so I had full confidence in his culinary skills.
As one aroma after another wafted up, I had to hold on to my patience really really hard.
As soon as the dish was done, he told me to try it. Now, I cannot eat hot food at all. But as soon as I was able, I popped a piece of the potato in my mouth — AND OH! MY GOD!!
At first I got the charred onions and a hint of burnt ginger. Then came the taste of spices, specially the coarsely roasted corriander seeds (dhania). The whisper of chilly was balanced with the sugar. That sugar and spice taste was the most surprising. The sapidity really hit home. The squishy softness of the potato, the spices blending with the sweet, implications of chilly – everything, just about everything goes to make this a perfect aloo ki sabji.
Don’t reduce anything – not the spices, not the sugar and definitely not the oil. Try not to substitute the oil too. In fact you can increase the spices if you are able to tolerate spicy dishes. I actually recommend you do so!
Amazing dish to be savoured with Naan, Tandoori Roti, Chapatti, Puri. You can also make it and serve it on it’s own, in toothpicks, as a cocktail snack.
However you decide to eat it, just give it a try. You will not be dissapointed!
PS: Here is the video that explains the various stages of the preparation.