Aloo Kachaloo is a popular household Winter dish made in every Uttar Pradesh home. Like Matar Ki Ghugni, it is savored in breakfast or snacks in the UP belt. The dish may be popularly known by different names based on which part of UP you come from. “Dhaniya Aloo”,” Chatni wale Aloo “or even “Hare Bhare Aloo” are some of the common names. While the dish may bear fancy names but the underlying recipe remains the same-one which has originated in a UP household.
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In the months between November to February, potatoes are available in abundance. These are known as “Naya Aloo” in local dialect which means ‘new potatoes’. New Potatoes are smaller in size, uneven shaped, clad with dirt and possess a sweet taste. Often people misunderstand smaller potatoes to ‘new potatoes’ which is not true. One of the easiest way to identify a new potato is to rub the skin with nail gently. The skin should be so delicate that it would peel off with ease.
The earthy sweetness that these potatoes inherently possess makes it an ideal choice for several Winter dishes. These preparations involving potatoes do not require any exhaustive prep work or an elaborate recipe. Few basic Indian spices, toss them together in a pan and you have an ideal accompaniment with your Dal-Chawal.
If you are wondering why am I going gaga over potatoes, allow me to explain. This recipe had been over my mind for quite some time now and it’s been almost a year now I actually thought of shooting for this recipe. Last year, around December when I was in Pune back from my Post Graduation course that I was pursuing in Culinary arts for a brief vacation, I tried to shoot for this recipe. But the recipe backlogs were too big to contain in 3 weeks and so dishearteningly I had to leave Pune letting this recipe idea linger in my mind. This year, come winter I was prepared and am happy to finally share the recipe video with you dear readers/viewers.
My family and particularly my FIL has a great inclination for the household recipes-for food that he has grown old eating. Come winter, in Pune when fresh agricultural products are commonly available, every alternate evening he brings in these new potatoes and makes a request- “Beta kal Kachaloo banaogi na?” and I find great joy and contentment in fulfilling these food requests. We share a unique bonding at home. While, my in-laws like to narrate their food experiences, their food stories, I like to listen and often make an entry in my diary. So dear readers, if you read our food stories and wonder about its origin, now you know it.
Coming back to Kachaloo. During the first winters in a North Indian (UP wala) home after my marriage, I was treated to this UP delicacy and I was bowled over by simplicity of the dish. Sweetness of the potatoes getting perfectly balanced with the subtly spiced green masala paste. Impressed by the dish, I ended up searching for it on internet for almost an hour during my office-break. However, to my dismay, internet search did not bring up any relevant search results, except few searches that referred me to nursery rhymes (more on this later). The other dominant search results were about a famous Kachaloo Chat of Delhi- made with Colocasia Roots. Finally, I ended up feeling perplexed. What was Kachaloo?
I kept discussing this anomaly with my in-laws about their idea of this dish and how it mismatched with the information available on internet. They kept insisting that it’s the same dish that they have grown up eating all throughout their childhood. After few rounds of discussions, this topic was shelved until our extended family assembled for my sister in law’s wedding. Amidst all the jokes and pranks, food sneaked in our discussions. Cutting straight to the point, the unanimous opinion was, no matter what internet had to offer, Aloo Kachaloo was the same dish that’s getting prepared in an average UP household now for decades. If this information does not exist on internet, one can still not take away the claim of its existence. The verdict was out in open and with it we knew we will go ahead with making this recipe video.
Just to digress a bit, here’s that popular Hindi nursery rhyme that I talked about earlier.
“आलू कचालू बेटा कहाँ गए थे,
बन्दर की झोपडी में सो रहे थे,
बन्दर ने लात मारी रो रहे थे,
मम्मी ने प्यार किया हंस रहे थे,
पापा ने पैसे दिए नाच रहे थे,
भैया ने लड्डू दिए खा रहे थे…
Sing along that rhyme, and make this simple, easy yet delicious preparation and get bowled over by its simplicity.
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- 700 grams Baby Potatoes (almost 20-22)
- Mustard Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida powder (Hing)
- Salt to taste
- Green Masala paste:
- 5 sprigs of Green Garlic (Garlic bulb and green stalks)
- 4 Green Chilies
- 1 Cup Fresh Coriander Leaves
- We will boil potatoes in a pressure cooker. Wash and clean Potatoes under running water. Transfer Potatoes in pressure cooker. Add enough water to rise above the level of Potatoes. Add Salt and Pressure cook on medium heat until 2 whistles.
- We will grind a fine green masala paste. Put Green Chilies, Green Garlic and its leaves, Coriander Leaves, Lemon Juice and salt. Grind into fine thick paste (without water).
- Now, Peel off the skin from Potatoes. You can cut bigger potatoes into two halves.
- Heat 3 tbsp Mustard Oil in a pan. Add Cumin Seeds and Asafoetida Powder.
- Add boiled Potatoes and mix well.
- We have cooked Potatoes for 2-3 mins on medium heat. Now, add green masala paste. Cook on low-medium heat. Ensure potatoes are evenly coated in masala paste.
- Now add salt to taste. Cook on medium heat for couple of mins.
- After 2 mins, Potatoes get coated nicely in the masala paste. Switch off the heat. Aloo Kachalu are ready to serve
- Tip: Addition of Salt while boiling, keeps the potato skin intact. It also helps in preventing cracks on potatoes
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Click here to watch recipe video