Every state in India has its own potato curry. We Gujaratis have our own “batata nu shaak,” but I’ll happily move it to one side to make room for a plate of Punjabi “dum aloo.” In this dish, baby new potatoes are fried until they color, then mixed with a happy congregation of cashews, onions, and tomatoes. This is comfort food that never gets dull.
NOTE: You will need a blender for this recipe.
Serves 4 as a side
¼ cup unsalted cashews
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 pounds baby new potatoes
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1½-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 x 14-ounce can of plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground red chile
1 teaspoon salt
Soak the cashews in ½ cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, crush the fennel seeds as finely as you can with a pestle and mortar.
Wash the potatoes if need be. Keep the smallest ones whole, but halve or quarter any of the larger ones so that they are all the same size. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a lidded frying pan and fry the potatoes for around 8 minutes, until they brown a bit, stirring every now and again. Remove the potatoes to a plate.
Transfer the cashews along with their soaking liquid to a blender and pulse to a fine paste.
Put the rest of the oil into the frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, fry the onion for 10 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes. Cook for around 5 to 8 minutes, until the sauce thickens and reduces, then add the crushed fennel seeds, garam masala, ground red chile, and salt. Stir to mix, and add the cashew paste. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add around 1½ cups of water and stir.
Put the potatoes back into the pan, cover with the lid, and cook on a low heat for a further 10 to 15 minutes, until really tender the whole way through. You can check by sliding a knife through: if there’s no resistance, they’re done.
Eat with parathas , rice, moong dal , and pickles.