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The Rising Star

Mustard Oil has come a long, long way. From being a rustic cooking medium used by everyday Indians to occupying pride of place in the kitchens of luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants, Mustard Oil has undergone a dramatic image makeover during the past decade or so. International and Indian chefs no longer shy away from extolling the special qualities of Mustard Oil, and instead talk avidly about its versatility and the unique dimensions it adds to various dishes.

One of Mustard Oil’s many exponents is Chef Sudhir Nair, currently the Executive Chef at The Westin in Hyderabad. Chef Nair is known for his innovative spirit and eclectic approach to recipes, creatively combining traditional and modern elements. In today’s post, we will look at a delicacy of potatoes simmered in a rich curd gravy, a dish created by Chef Nair during his stint as the Executive Chef at the prestigious fine dining restaurant, Courtyard in Bangalore. Traditionally, this dish is known as Dahi Aaloo.

Here are the ingredients that you will require for this recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. Potatoes: 4, medium sized

  2. Curd (Dahi): 250 grams

  3. Mustard Oil: 4 tablespoons

  4. Flour (Aata): 1 teaspoon

  5. Onion: 1, small

  6. Garlic (Lasun): 4 cloves

  7. Ginger (Adrak), grated: Half a teaspoon

  8. Dried Red Chillies: 2

  9. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 30 grams

  10. Rock Salt (Sendha Namak): to taste

The quantities mentioned above are for serving four persons. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings you require.

Preparation:

Wash, peel and boil the potatoes. When they are done (use a fork to check), cut them into small cubes.

Finely chop the onion.

Finely chop the garlic.

Grind the dried red chillies into a coarse powder.

Coarsely chop the coriander leaves.

Method:

In a mixing bowl, take the curd and add the flour and ground red chillies. Mix well. Use a strainer to strain the mixture. Keep aside.

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame. When the oil reaches its smoking point and emits whiffs of aromatic white smoke, reduce the flame to Low.

Now add the potatoes, onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for around two minutes.

Next, add the curd and flour mixture. Stir well to mix all the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil.

Add rock salt to taste, give the contents another stir and then turn the flame off.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves.

Your Dahi Aaloo is now ready. Serve it hot. It can be eaten either with Roti or Puri or as a side dish. This recipe demonstrates how divergent flavours can subtly be balanced to create a refreshingly different and innovative gourmet experience. The characteristic zing of the Mustard Oil and the spiciness of the red chillies balance the sour flavour of the curd, making all the ingredients come alive. That’s what makes this recipe so charming.

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