Pahari Aloo Palda from Himachal Pradesh – Potatoes Simmered in Yogurt Gravy

Pahari Aloo PaldaHimachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India, situated in the Western Himalayas. ‘Hima’ means snow in Sanskrit and the literal meaning of the state’s name is ‘In the lap of Himalayas’. Himachal Pradesh is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its natural beauty. It is also very famous for its rich heritage of handicrafts, which ranges from shawls to carpets to metals and silverwares. The official language of the state is Hindi, but a wide population of people speaks Pahari language. The day to day food habits of the Himachali people are similar to the rest of the North India. The Himachal cuisine is also referred to as the Pahari cuisine.

The recipe that I chose to make for this state, Pahari Aloo Palda is a creamy potato subzi simmered in yogurt gravy. Making this subzi reminded me of making the Tamil Nadu/Kerala special More Kuzhambu, but the flavors were very different with the different spices used in them. The recipe is very simple and quick to make. Pahari Aloo Palda is slightly sweet with a bit of sourness in it. Palda is a common recipe in the Pahari cuisine. It can be made just with the potatoes (as I made it here) or it could be made with a mixture of vegetables as well. I served it with some parathas and the next day, I served the left over palda with Ven Pongal!

 
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
Difficulty level – easy

Recipe Source – The Food

Ingredients – Serves 4-6

  • Potatoes – 3 large (peeled and chopped lengthwise, like for French fries)
  • Onion – 1 large (thinly sliced)
  • Green chilies – 2 (Thinly sliced)
  • Yogurt – 3 cups whisked with 1 cup of water
  • Oil / ghee – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Cloves – 6
  • Cardamom – 3
  • Asafetida – ¼ tsp
  • Raw Rice – 2 tbsp (soaked in 4 tbsp of water)
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Dhania powder /Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cilantro – to garnish

Procedure –

  • Soak the rice in 4 tbsp water for about 10 minutes and then grind it along with the cardamom into a smooth paste.  Mix this paste with the yogurt and whisk it well together and keep aside.
  • In a pan, add the oil and/or ghee. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and asafetida and fry for a minute until they turn aromatic.
  • Now add the sliced onions and the green chilies and sauté until translucent.
  • Add the chopped potatoes along with the dry powder spices (Garam masala, turmeric powder, dhania powder) and salt. Mix well.
  • Let the potatoes cook in medium flame until they are soft. Add a little water, if needed to cook the potatoes and make sure you cook them covered. This way they cook faster.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, lower the flame and add the whisked yogurt-rice mixture.  Keep stirring and bring the mixture to a boil in low to medium flame. Do not increase the flame, otherwise the yogurt might curdle. Once the mixture comes to a light boil, immediately turn off the flame and garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve Pahari Aloo Palda warm with parathas or rice! When reheating the subzi, make sure you do so in very low flame.

 

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