Punjabi Dum Aloo (Instant Pot + Stovetop)

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This easy and delicious Punjabi-style Dum Aloo gravy is perfect for families who want to savor this lovely dish without spending hours in the kitchen. Leverage your Instant Pot and make it in about 40-minutes.

An overhead shot of Instant Pot Dum Aloo recipe served in a white bowl and garnished with fenugreek leaves, cilantro and yogurt
Punjabi Dum Aloo recipe

Dum Aloo is traditionally made by deep-frying whole potatoes and then slow cooking it in an onion-tomato based gravy.  It is a popular north Indian dish and is commonly found in most Indian restaurants. This recipe calls for shallow frying potatoes and is a healthier take on the classic dum aloo recipe. 

What is dum cooking?

Slow cooking food in its own juices on slow heat, in a sealed pot to preserve all the aroma is the concept behind dum cooking. There are many different stories about its origin, but one thing is clear, it was inspired by the Persian style of slow cooking called larhmeen.

However, what we now call as dum pukht or dum cooking was born in the former princely state of Awadh.

The state was hit by famine and the ruler of the state Nawab Asaf-ud-daullah embarked on a large construction project to feed his people, who worked on the site in exchange for food.

The cooks had to feed thousands of workers every day, so they turned to an effortless way of cooking. They added all the ingredients for this meat-based dish in big cauldrons, which were then sealed and put over the slow fire so the food could cook in its own juices over a few hours.

The taste and the aroma of the food were so tantalizing that it soon found its way into the royal kitchen and a new style of cooking – Dum pukht was born.  

The origins of dum aloo

In the late 19th century, the Nawab of Awadh was ousted and exiled to present-day Kolkata. He brought his retinue of cooks with him, who introduced the Dum Pukht cooking to Kolkata. It was here that the cooks found potatoes and cooked it dum pukht style to create the delicious Dum Aloo. 

The Many Avatars of Dum Aloo 

Now, dum aloo has many variations, but more often than not the potatoes are deep-fried before they are added to the gravy. The pot is then sealed and allowed to cook on a low flame. From its beginnings as the iconic Bengali dish Aloor Dom, it has now traveled the length and breadth of the country and practically every region has its own version of dum aloo.  

Bengali dum aloo: The Bengali delicacy is cooked in mustard oil that gives a very nice depth to its flavor. They are lightly spiced and again cooked in yogurt. The Bengalis do add onion garlic and tomatoes but in limited quantities, so the Dum aloo is lightly spiced.  

Kashmiri dum aloo: Dum Aluv, as they call it, is a part of the Kashmiri Pandit’s cuisine which is quite different from the Muslim Wazwan cuisine. It is very lightly spiced, uses no garlic, onions, or tomatoes, and is cooked with yogurt.  

Jaipuri dum aloo: This is a more robust recipe that is cooked in a curry heavy with tomato, ginger, garlic, and onions. Unlike the other dum aloo recipes, it uses wedges of potatoes instead of whole potatoes. The wedges are fried before they are added to the curry and slow-cooked. A lot of spices are used to flavor the curry.   

Punjabi dum aloo: This recipe makes liberal use of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and onions and adds cashew paste to give it a creamy sweet taste. Here too the potatoes are cut into wedges and deep-fried before being added to the curry. This is a heavy and rich version also commonly known as restaurant-style dum aloo.  

Banarasi dum aloo: This is again a light recipe and is served typically for breakfast along with poori. The base of the curry can be either yogurt or tomatoes or both, depending on the cook, but it uses no onion or garlic. Whole boiled baby potatoes are used for this delicious but light curry.  

South Indian dum aloo: South Indian Style dum aloo is a spicy curry that uses onion, garlic, and ginger along with the coconut and curry leaves to give it the typical South Indian twist. They use either baby potatoes or cut the big ones into wedges.

Nepali dum aloo: For a hot and spicy version of the Dum Aloo, the Nepali style takes the cake. It is heavy on garlic and red chilies which give it the signature taste along with the panch phoran which includes fenugreek, mustard seeds, nigella, and cumin. It uses whole boiled potatoes. They are not fried.  

Mughlai dum aloo: Thick, rich, and creamy curries are the signature of Mughlai style cooking and this dish also uses poppy seeds for thickening the onion, tomato, and garlic-based curry. The potatoes are boiled and fried before they are added. Liberal use of cream makes it very rich and heavy.  

Stuffed dum aloo recipes: Here the potatoes are boiled, cut into halves, the center is scooped out and filled with paneer stuffing before they are deep-fried and added to a thick Mughlai style curry. It is a rich and heavy but lightly spiced version of the dish.  

 How to make dum aloo in the Instant Pot?

The recipe I am sharing leans more towards the Punjabi way of making dum aloo but without the cashew paste. My goal with this recipe is to make it quickly without compromising on the taste. But if you prefer the restaurant-style creamy dum aloo, I have included the instructions on how to make it in the variation section.

Here are the steps I followed –

  1. Peel the potatoes and make 4 equidistant one-inch slits around the potatoes using a knife. 
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee in a pan kept over medium heat. Add cloves, black cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon stick, hing. Let them sizzle for about 30 seconds and then add potatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Shallow fry them till they are evenly browned from all sides (about 6-8 minutes) [see note]
  3. Add oil to the steel insert in an Instant Pot. Press the Saute function. Use the Adjust button to move the selection to “Normal” and wait till the display reads “Hot.” Add hing, onions, ginger, garlic and fry them till they have softened. Add pureed tomatoes, along with Kashmiri chili powder, and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil [takes about 2-3 minutes].
  4. Add the sautéed potatoes along with the spices and mix them in. Add about 1/2 cup of water. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, quickly release pressure. 
  5. Stir in yogurt, garam masala, and roasted fenugreek leaves. Simmer in the Instant Pot for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Serve hot with rotis or rice

Tester’s notes – 

  1. To make it a one-pot meal, shallow fry the potatoes in the Instant Pot and then set them aside. I do it separately because I do steps 2 and 3 in parallel ie. I fry the onions and shallow fry the potatoes at the same time. Helps me cut the cooking time by 6-8 minutes.
  2. Deep frying vs shallow frying – The original dum aloo recipe calls for deep frying potatoes but I prefer to shallow fry them to cut back on calories. You could deep fry them if you prefer to make it the authentic way.
  3. Soaking potatoes – Traditionally, the potatoes are soaked before shallow or deep frying. Soaking the potatoes removes starch and makes for crispier potatoes. I did not notice a huge difference in taste or texture, so I skip this process to save time. The process involves –
    • Add a teaspoon of salt to two cups of water. Mix well.
    • Immerse the peeled and slit potatoes in water for about 10 minutes.
    • Remove the potatoes from water and pat dry them before shallow or deep frying. 
  4. Adding cashew paste – Soak the cashews in warm water for about 10 minutes, discard the water and then puree the cashews along with tomatoes. This adds a nice creamy texture to the curry.
  5. Use potato wedges instead of baby potatoes – Peeling the small baby potatoes can take a long time, so substitute them for medium-sized potatoes and cut them to wedges. Reduce the pressure cooking time from 10 to 2 minutes just like we do in this Aloo matar recipeAn overhead shot of Dum Aloo served over rice

If you love vegetarian side dishes, this easy baingan bharta is right up your alley. We love to eat it with warm rotis. Here are other side dishes that go well with rotis –  

  • Aloo matar – Potatoes and peas curry cooked in less than 30 minutes in an electric pressure cooker.  
  • Aloo methi – delicious potatoes combined with fresh methi leaves.
  • Chana masala – a chickpea curry with a hint of spice and tang.
  • Chowli (lobia) – a delectable black-eyed peas curry. 
  • Aloo Gobi masala – easy 30-minute peas and potato curry. 


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
An overhead shot of Instant Pot Dum Aloo recipe served in a white bowl and garnished with fenugreek leaves, cilantro and yogurt

Instant Pot Punjabi Dum Aloo Recipe

5 from 4 votes
This easy and delicious Punjabi style Dum Aloo gravy is perfect for families who want to savor this lovely dish without spending hours in the kitchen. Leverage your pressure cooker and make it in about 30-minutes. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Vegetarian
Course : Entree
Method: Instant Pot, Pressure cooker
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

For shallow frying potatoes

Making the gravy

Instructions
 

  • Peel the potatoes and make 4 equidistant one-inch slits around the potatoes using a knife.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee in a pan kept over medium heat. Add cloves, black cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon stick, hing. Let them sizzle for about 30 seconds. 
  • Add potatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Fry them till they are evenly browned from all sides (about 6-8 minutes) [see note]
  • Add oil to the steel insert in an Instant Pot. Press the Saute function. Use the Adjust button to move the selection to “Normal” and wait till the display reads “Hot.”
  • Add hing, onions, ginger, garlic and fry them till they have softened. Add pureed tomatoes, along with Kashmiri chili powder, and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil [takes about 2-3 minutes].
  • Add the sautéed potatoes along with the spices and mix them in. Add about 1/2 cup of water.
  • Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, quickly release pressure. 
  • Stir in yogurt, garam masala, and roasted fenugreek leaves. Simmer in the Instant Pot for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve hot with parathas or rice.

Notes

  1. To make it a one-pot meal, shallow fry the potatoes in the Instant Pot and then set them aside. I do it separately because I do steps 2 and 3 in parallel ie. I fry the onions and shallow fry the potatoes at the same time. Helps me cut the cooking time by 6-8 minutes.
  2. Deep frying vs shallow frying – The original dum aloo recipe calls for deep frying potatoes but I prefer to shallow fry them to cut back on calories. You could deep fry them if you prefer to make it the authentic way.
  3. Soaking potatoes – Traditionally, the potatoes are soaked before shallow or deep frying. Soaking the potatoes removes starch and makes for crispier potatoes. I did not notice a huge difference in taste or texture, so I skip this process to save time. The process involves –
    • Add a teaspoon of salt to two cups of water. Mix well.
    • Immerse the peeled and slit potatoes in water for about 10 minutes.
    • Remove the potatoes from water and pat dry them before shallow or deep frying. 
  4. Adding cashew paste – Soak the cashews in warm water for about 10 minutes, discard the water and then puree the cashews along with tomatoes. This adds a nice creamy texture to the curry.
  5. Use potato wedges instead of baby potatoes – Peeling the small baby potatoes can take a long time, so substitute them for medium-sized potatoes and cut them to wedges. Reduce the pressure cooking time from 10 to 2 minutes just like we do in this Aloo matar recipe

Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 351kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 7gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 323mgPotassium: 1262mgFiber: 8gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 985IUVitamin C: 61.5mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 2.4mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wowwww cooking. Excellent recipes. Explained with easy steps. Very good display. Very good photography. Very good presentation. Overall ✳️✳️✳️✳️✳️

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