My parents had been here for a few days and before they came here, I had specifically asked them to bring for me my favourite street food from Cuttack – Dahi Bara Alu Dum. I had been craving for it since long but since it’s not known much outside of Odisha, and especially Cuttack, so I could not get a chance to savour it here in Bangalorere. Though I tried once to prepare it at home, but the taste didn’t come out as good as the stuff that the vendors in Cuttack sell. Being a Cuttacki, I have literally grown eating this cult street food since my childhood days and so many fond memories are associated with it. Almost every second day I would stop by Raghu bhaina’s shop to eat dahi bara alu dum to my heart’s fill while returning home from school. Even today one would find vendors going around the colonies in a cycle selling this cult favourite, having pots tied to their cycles – one pot filled with dahi bara and the other two smaller pots containing alu dum and ghughuni. He would serve the dahi bara in a plate and would top it with alu dum and ghughuni and then would garnish them with chopped coriander leaves, sliced onions and enough of sev to add crunchiness to the combination. It tastes heavenly.
My parents had brought my favourite Cuttacki fare packed nicely in a huge tiffin but by the time, they reached here and I opened the tiffin, both the dahi bara as well as the ghughuni had gone stale and tasted quite weird. I was heart-broken. But then I decided to prepare this dish at home and this time I got it right. Though it’s a somewhat cumbersome process preparing dahi bara, alu dum as well ghughuni, but the taste that the dish gives will make one easily forget all the labour that would have gone in making it and one would agree that it was all worth the efforts.
For preparing Dahi bara –
Urad dal, 1 cup
Rice flour, 3/4th cup
Baking Soda, about 1 tsp
Fresh Thick Curd 1 cup
Salt to taste
Black salt, a pinch
Roasted cumin seeds and red chillies, powdered smoothly, about 2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
Red Chillies, 2-3 nos.
Curry leaves, 4-5
Refined oil, sufficient amount, for deep frying and for seasoning
1. First of all the urad dal (black gram dal) needs to be soaked overnight for about 7 hours or so, so that it becomes slightly puffed up and soft. It will be easy to grind it to a smooth batter (neither too thick, nor too thin). After making the batter, leave it for another 3-4 hours to ferment. As a result, the batter will rise up a bit and air bubbles would have formed on the surface.
2. Now adding the rice flour and the baking soda, we will mix them all nicely and will once again leave it another 4-5 hours.
3. Now for preparing the dahi mixture, we will take the beaten curd in a big bowl and will add some water to it to thin it down a bit. And then we will add salt, black salt, and the roasted cumin-red chilli powder to it and mix nicely.
4. Heating about 1 tbsp of refined oil in a pan, we will add mustard seeds, the broken red chillies and the curry leaves and will fry them all for 1-2 minutes till a nice aroma starts coming from it. We will pour this seasoning mixture into the dahi bowl and will mix them all nicely. Our dahi mixture is ready.
5. Now for preparing the baras, we will whip up the urad dal batter and taking about half a cup amount of the batter, we will make a round shaped flattened ball with our hand and will slide it into the hot oil for deep frying. Likewise we will slide in some more baras into the oil. They are to be fried till they become golden brown.
6. When they are done, we will take them out from the oil and will then put them into another bowl contained cold water so that the baras saok up water into them and become soft.
7. After about 3-4 minutes when the baras would have soaked in enough water, we will gently squeeze out all water from them and put them into the dahi mixture now.
Dahi bara is ready.
For preparing Aloo Dum
Baby Potatoes, about 300 gms
Tomato puree, 2 tbsp
Onion paste, 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp
Coriander powder, 1 tsp
Cumin Powder, 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder, 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder, 1 tsp
Salt to taste
1. First of all, we will boil the potatoes and peel them up.
2. Then heating some oil in a kadhai, we will saute them slightly, for about 3-4 minutes, over medium flame adding salt and turmeric powder. We will then take them out from the kadhai and keep them aside.
3. Once again in the same kadhai, we will take some more oil and adding the onion paste and the ginger-garlic paste, we will saute the mixture for some time, till they turn somewhat golden brown.
4. Then we will add to the mixture, the red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, cumin powder and salt and will continue to saute them all for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Then we will add the tomato puree, and some water (about a cup) and will also add the fried potatoes into the mixture and will let them all to cook over low flame (for about 10-15 minutes).
6. When it starts to boil, we will know that the alu dum is ready.
Now for serving the dahi bara alu dum, we will first take a few pieces of the baras in a big bowl andwill pour the dahi mixture over them. And then we will top them with the piping hot alu dum. We will then garnish with finely chopped onions and some sev. Dahi bara alu dum is ready to be eaten.