Aloo Ke Gutke – Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is one of the North Indian states that consist of two divisions; Gharwal and Kumaon. This state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh. I knew about the bifurcation and the 27th state of India but never really looked at the map to see how the state was bifurcated. It was during the BM research that I realized Dehradun is no long in Uttar Pradesh and it is now the state capital of Uttarakhand. However, state high court is in Nainital which is in Kumaon region and Dehradun is in Gharwal region. People from Gharwal region are called Gharwalis and you must be wondering why I am as so much interested in Dehradun and Gharwal region? I know a family from Gharwal who moved to Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh 45 – 50 years ago. I know this family since my childhood but not on a personal level until I was in high school. Although the family lived in Secunderabad, they also owned a house in my hometown. My family knows this family so well that they trusted this family to take care of the kids when the elders went to a neighboring village to attend a wedding. Back then, I think I was 5 or 6 years old. My brother, cousins and I stayed with the family for a day. This uncle & aunt have seven children and the youngest child is of my age. All I remember of that day was we had a very good time playing all day with the siblings. I only got to know the family and children very well when I was in my high school. Since the younger child I and were of the same age, we became friends. That is when I learned more about their eating habits and the food they prepared.
The food they ate was similar to what I have read about the cuisine of Uttarakhand but there is a slight variation is cooking style. For this state, I thought I would write about this family and the food they ate, instead of relying on online sources. The food habits mentioned here is going to be based on my observation on what and how they ate. For breakfast it was always parathas and a subzi, sometimes they also made roti. Most of the time it was bhendi ki subzi (okra stir fry) prepared with very simple, basic ingredients; onion, cumin, coriander powder, chili powder and sometimes amchoor powder. Potato and other stir fries were also prepared but bhendi was on the top of the list for breakfast to serve with parathas. The other paratha made frequently were aloo ki paratha. In fact, it was at their place that I first tasted aloo paratha. It was often served with dahi (yogurt) or without any side dish. Parathas were always smeared with lots of ghee. For lunch it was dal chawal (dal & rice) with some subzi and occasionally kadhi. And for dinner, it was roti with subzi. The older folk preferred roti and younger generation that was born and brought up in Hyderabad preferred rice over roti, thought they ate one or two roti even for dinner. Ghee was used a lot in their cooking. Tadka for dal was with ghee and also, ghee was slightly applied to roti (pulkha) after making it.
Their subzi were very simple and most of the subzi had potato and tomatoes in it and in winters, when green peas were in season, peas were also added. As far as I remember, they did not add potato and tomato to only bhendi and turai (ridge gourd). The common subzi was aloo ki subzi with tomato. It was not very dry like the vegetables stir fries but it did not have too much gravy either. The preparation is lot similar to aloo tamatar jhol that I came across for this state. Although reading the recipe sounded as if this jhol had some gravy, unlike what I saw at my friend’s house and they did not call it jhol either. It was at their house that I first ate mixed vegetable subzi. This subzi had pretty much all the vegetables that were available. The common vegetables that went into this subzi are cauliflower, cabbage, beans, potato and tomato. When green peas were in season, it was a must. Sometimes even capsicum (green bell peppers) was also added. The most common sweet was gajar halwa and sheera. Sheera was also served with poori.
Finding a recipe for this state was not that difficult. I wanted to do something this family cooked, especially the subzi, which are so simple. I was also tempted to call my friend or one of the siblings and ask them for one of the authentic recipes of Gharwal. It has been so long since I met them felt odd calling anyone of the siblings after such a long gap. Moreover, I did not have any of their numbers and I do not even know their married names (I tried searching them on Facebook with their maiden name). I could have called up their mother for their numbers but it was over 10 years since I spoke to her. I took it easy. Aloo Tamatar Jhol was on top of my list to cook for this state but ended up making Aloo ke Gutke. This is a street food sold many street side stalls in Uttarakhand. Like for many of the Northeastern states, there are many websites that have a similar recipe. There is also an ebook which I downloaded and can’t seem to remember where I downloaded it from. Off course, it was a link shared by one of my fellow marathoners.
Total Time: 30 – 32 minutes
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
- 350 – 400 grams Potatoes (I used 2 med- large red potatoes weighing 350 grams)
- 25 grams or 1 – 1 ½ tbsp. Oil
- 2 Long Red Chilies
- ¼ tsp. Mustard Seeds (opt. Not in the recipe but I added it. Check note below)
- ¼ tsp. Cumin (check note)
- ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp. Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp. Chili Powder
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ¼ tsp. Cumin Powder
- ¼ – ½ cup chopped Coriander Leaves ~ Cilantro
- Wash potatoes and cut them into 2 – 3 pieces. Boil the potatoes until cooked. Potatoes should be just cooked and do not overcook. It takes about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the potatoes rest in the boiling water for 5 minutes, drain the hot water and fill the pan with cold water. Peel the potatoes and cut them in to 1 ½” pieces.
- Heat oil in a skillet and fry the red chilies until brown. Remove from the oil and keep aside.
- In the same oil add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and let the seeds pop.
- Add coriander powder, chili powder, salt, turmeric powder and mix well.
- Immediately add potatoes and mix well for to coat the spices.
- Sauté the potatoes for about 5 -7 minutes on med – med low flame until potatoes are evenly roasted.
- 2-3 minutes before turning off the heat, add cumin powder and roast until potatoes are done.
- Turn of the heat, transfer to a serving dish and garnish the potatoes with red chilies and lots of coriander leaves.
- Aloo ke gutke can be served as it is as a snack or can also be served as a side dish with roti, paratha or rice. If serving as a snack, squeeze some lime juice.
- There was a typo in the recipe I followed. Ingredient list had cumin powder and in the preparation cumin seeds were used. I did not read the recipe properly and assumed recipe called for mustard seeds instead of cumin seeds. Hence used both mustard and cumin powder when cooking. One can skip mustard seeds, cumin powder and use only cumin seeds when tempering or can use mustard and cumin seeds and skip cumin powder or use all three ingredients.
- If serving this as a side dish for roti or rice, more chili powder can be added depending on ones taste.