Here is another dish from the state of U.P. which is my favvvoouurite. Mathura ke dubki wale aloo. Mathura is a small town in U.P. which is very close to my hometown Aligarh. Its famous for the temples of Lord Krishna and also a sweet fudge called peda.
This dish, though called Mathura wale Aloo (potato curry from the city of Mathura), is quite a common one in the whole area around including my city. So this is a potato curry I have grown up eating as a street food. Its served with Khasta kachori where you make a hole in the centre of the kachori, pour some dubki wale aloo in it and then eat it.. yumm!! Just visualising it makes me so hungry right now.
The method of preparation is completely different that the usual curries, where a spice paste is cooked first and then the vegetables are added. Here in this recipe, you add almost everything at one go and let it come to a boil, then simmer for some time. The starch juices that flow out of potatoes gives a rich and smooth texture to the curry. And the whole spices like peppercorns and clove used, bring in that strong, distinctive flavour in which is just out of this world.
If you are making this curry, I suggest you to serve it with fried puffed bread, be it poori or kachori or bhatura or anyone of your choice. But it has to be a fried bread in order to enjoy the full taste of this otherwise very simple curry.
A word of caution- this curry is bit heavy on the hotness (mostly from the use of cloves) so you would need to adjust the peppers and chilies as per your preference. The amount I have used in the recipe below was a bit hot for my taste but then that’s how its cherished. When I had it, it was with teary eyes and a big grin 🙂
Let’s learn how to make these simple yet spicy Mathura ke dubki wale alu
Cuisine: U.P., India
Course: side dish
Cooking level: Easy
Nutritional info: Rich in carbs and minerals. You may get some benefits from the medicinal properties of the spices used like a check in flu etc.
Accompaniment: Fried breads like Poori, Kachori, Luchi, Bhatura etc. + Chilled raita + pickle
What you need?
- 7-8 medium sized potatoes
- 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used mustard oil)
- 2 tsp dry mango powder (amchur/ khatai)
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp black salt (kala namak)
- 1 tsp salt OR to taste
- 2 tbsp plain flour (maida)
- ¼ fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
Whole spices to grind together:
- 3-4 green cardamom pods (hari elaichi)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- 8-10 peppercorns (sabut kali mirch)
- ¼ inch cinnamon stick (optional)
- 6-8 cloves pods (laung)
- 3-4 green chilies
- a small ginger piece
- a handful of spinach leaves (about half a cup)
How to make?
Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker, let them come to room temperature and peel them. Break these roughly by pressing between your palms. No need to use a potato masher since we don’t need a paste or a mash.
Grind all the ingredients under the list “to grind” and keep them aside.
Mix the refined flour (maida) with ½ cup of water into a paste and keep aside.
Now, in a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and transfer the ground spice paste into it. Saute for just a few seconds and then throw in the broken potato bits in that. Mix well so the potatoes get covered evenly with oil.
Add the remaining spices and 4 cups of water, and bring the curry to a boil.
Add the refined flour paste into this curry and stir to mix. Let this curry simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring in between.
Add more water if required and adjust the seasoning (check salt & pepper etc.) and simmer further if required. Turn off and let it sit for a few minutes before serving so the consistency gets a bit thicker.
When ready to serve, garnish with fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
You may do an additional tadka/ chaunk/ vaghar at the end of the curry or when ready to serve. Simply heat 1 tbsp of oil (or ghee, if preferred) in a small pan, fry ½ tsp of cumin seeds with some red chili powder+ ½ tsp garam masala and pour this on the curry. Keep the curry covered for 2-3 minutes and then serve. This would enhance the taste manifolds. If doing this, adjust the quantity of red chili powder in the original recipe so it doesn’t become too hot.
You may skip adding flour (maida) and spinach if you want but these are the two ingredients that make this curry distinctive in taste and texture. So I would highly recommend using them.
This curry can be made without oil as well. So in the step where you add the ground paste to the oil, simply skip the oil and add the paste + potatoes + water all together in the pan/ wok. Usually the street food vendors make it this way, without adding any oil.
More delectable U.P. style recipe
U.P. style Alu tikki– Doubly fried potato cutlets served w/spicy chickpeas curry
Chura matar– Typical U.P. style Poha made using panchphoran
Ram laddoo– Moong dala vadas served with grated mooli, in typical Delhi style
Sattu ka paratha (makuni)– The famous breakfast from Bihar