Dum Aloo

My original recipe for Dum Aloo appeared in the first edition of The Lotus and the Artichoke – Vegan Recipes from World Adventures back in 2012 (and 2013 for the German edition). It was based on how I learned to cook Dum Aloo when I was living in Amravati, India. When I re-did my first cookbook for the WORLD 2.0 edition, I decided to drop this recipe as I’d improved it already for The Lotus and the Artichoke – INDIA.

On a subsequent visit to India, in late 2017, when I spent some time in and around Srinagar, Kashmir, I learned how to make the traditional Kashmiri version of the dish – which typically does not include tomatoes. I’ve had many friends from other regions of India assure me that it can be (and often is) made with tomatoes, so I was initially naturally rather confused to get somewhat regular feedback from Kashmiris telling me that it is not made with tomatoes (or onions, depending on who you ask). It was explained to me that in the far northern, mountainous regions of India it was often impossible to get tomatoes (and onions) in the winter, when the roads were socked in with snow… and to make a long story short: tomatoes (and onions) were added to the dish in other parts of India, but it was not authentic Kashmiri!

These debates always bring to mind the dozens of times I’ve heard arguments about what exactly belongs – or doesn’t belong – in garam masala spice mixes (every household has a different recipe, usually only theirs is legitimate and bona fide; others bring weird, or wrong). And as I’m not in a position to determine what is or is not ‘authentic’ (nor is it of particular appeal to me to do so, especially in cultural, culinary contexts), I prefer to focus on what has been taught to me, and always mention that the authenticity is discussed and debated. As a rule, when I change things, it’s important to me to address it, and I’d like to emphasize that my dishes are inspired by what I’ve been taught and tasted, but I do adapt things here and there to make them practical (or possible) and accessible beyond the regions where they originate.

Outside of Kashmir, and outside of India, it is of course possible to make this dish without tomatoes in the base sauce, but I personally appreciate the texture and (fruity, sour, sweet) flavors tomatoes lend. (Again, I’ve also had it prepared for me both in Kashmir and other parts of India with tomatoes and onions. And I’ve had cooks insist that they must be in the dish.) But if you object, and/or fancy yourself to be a purist, by all means, omit them, use my provided variations – or just shake your fist in the air and look further for another recipe!

In any event, this recipe uses just one small tomato and one small onion, so it’s kind of a compromise. My recipe, being vegan, also does not include (dairy) yogurt or cream as many (but not all) North Indian manifestations of Dum Aloo or Aloo Dum do. I also cook variations with a creamy cashew base (this having been taught to me in Maharashtra) but I typically save the blended tomatoes and cashew trick for Paneer Makhani, which features fried tofu-paneer instead of potatoes… and much less (Kashmiri) red chili powder – or mild ground paprika, if you’re not up for the heat.

I’d like to extend my special thanks to my friends in Srinagar for showing me how to make this dish on a quiet afternoon some years ago when we were quite hungry and anxious for something fun to do. In the midst of a state-wide shutdown and a tense security situation I was one of very few foreigners in Srinagar, and was staying a week with Nazeer’s family on a houseboat. All the restaurants pretty much everywhere were closed (as well as the shops, except a few that had the gates partially up and lights on low at night, cautiously) but I managed to meet up with some Kashmiri guys at a nearby guesthouse, and this is what we cooked up together. The photo for this recipe is actually from that cooking session!

Dum Aloo
Kashmiri potato curry

serves 2 to 3 / time 30 min

recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – INDIA
(Rezept auf Deutsch unten)

  • 12–15 very small or 3 medium (400 g) potatoes
  • 1 small (75 g) tomato chopped 
  • 1 small (60 g) red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3/4 in (2 cm) fresh ginger chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 3 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ground
  • 1/2 tsp coriander ground
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala (page 32)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder optional
  • 1 tsp paprika ground
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric ground
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing) powder
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar or agave syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Rinse and peel potatoes. Chop in large chunks.
  2. In a small food processor or blender, grind chopped tomato, onion, garlic, ginger with 1/2 cup (120 ml) water until mostly smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a large pot or wok on medium heat. Add potatoes. Fry until evenly deep golden brown, stirring frequently, 7–10 min.
  4. Add garam masala, ground cumin, coriander, red chili powder (if using), paprika, turmeric, and asafoetida (hing). Mix well. Fry until richly aromatic, 1-2 min.
  5. Stir in blended tomato mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring regularly, until potatoes are soft, sauce is deep red, and oil separates, 7–10 min. Stir in another 1/2 cup (120 ml) water gradually while simmering.
  6. Stir in lime juice, sugar (or agave syrup), and salt. Cover and remove from heat.
  7. Serve with rice, roti, or naan.


Traditional: Replace tomato with 4 Tbs soy or coconut yogurt. Saffron Gold: Mix 2 Tbs soy yogurt, 1 Tbs water, and pinch saffron threads or powder in a small bowl. Soak 10 min. Stir into curry with lime juice at the very end. Aloo Mutter Dum: Add 1 cup green peas and a handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves for last few minutes of simmering.

Dum Aloo

Aloo Dum
Kartoffel-Curry aus Kaschmir

2 bis 3 Portionen / Dauer 30 Min.

Rezept aus The Lotus and the Artichoke – INDIEN

  • 12–15 sehr kleine oder 3 mittelgroße (400 g) Kartoffeln
  • 1 kleine (75 g) Tomate gehackt
  • 1 kleine (60 g) rote Zwiebel gehackt
  • 2 Knoblauchzehen gehackt
  • 2 cm frischer Ingwer gehackt
  • 1 Tasse (240 ml) Wasser
  • 3 EL Pflanzenöl
  • 1/2 TL Kreuzkümmel gemahlen
  • 1/2 TL Koriander gemahlen
  • 1 TL Garam Masala (Seite 32)
  • 1/2 TL Chilipulver wenn gewünscht
  • 1 TL Paprikapulver
  • 1/2 TL Kurkuma gemahlen
  • 1/4 TL Asafoetida (Asant)
  • 1 EL Limettensaft
  • 1 TL Zucker oder Agavensirup
  • 1 1/2 TL Meersalz
  1. Kartoffeln waschen, schälen und in große Stücke schneiden.
  2. In einer kleinen Küchenmaschine oder einem Mixer gehackte Tomate, Zwiebel, Knoblauch, Ingwer und 1/2 Tasse (120 ml) Wasser fast glatt pürieren.
  3. In einem großen Topf oder Wok Öl auf mittlerer Flamme erhitzen. Kartoffeln hineingeben. Unter häufigem Rühren 7 bis 10 Min. tief goldbraun braten.
  4. Garam Masala, gemahlenen Kreuzkümmel, Koriander, Chilipulver (falls verwendet), Paprikapulver, Kurkuma und Asafoetida hinzufügen. Gut umrühren und 1 bis 2 Min. braten, bis es aromatisch duftet.
  5. Tomatenmischung einrühren. Zum Kochen bringen. Flamme herunterstellen. 7 bis 10 Min. unter regelmäßigem Rühren köcheln, bis die Kartoffeln weich sind, die Soße tiefrot ist und das Öl sich trennt. Während des Köchelns eine weitere 1/2 Tasse (120 ml) Wasser einrühren.
  6. Limettensaft, Zucker (oder Agavensirup) und Salz einrühren. Abdecken und vom Herd nehmen.
  7. Mit Reis, Roti oder Naan servieren.


Traditionell: Tomate mit 4 EL Soja- oder Kokosjoghurt ersetzen. Safrangold: In einer kleinen Schüssel 2 EL Sojajoghurt, 1 EL Wasser und 1 Prise Safranfäden oder -pulver verquirlen. 10 Min. einweichen. Am Ende zusammen mit dem Limettensaft ins Curry einrühren. Aloo Mutter Dum: 1 Tasse grüne Erbsen und eine Handvoll frisches gehacktes Koriandergrün während der letzten Kochminuten unterrühren.

Carrot Ginger Zucchini Soup

Carrot Ginger Zucchini Soup

I’ve been making variations of this vegan Carrot Ginger soup recipe for over fifteen years. The inspiration for the recipe came from my friend Monika, a former co-worker from South Africa whom I met when we were part-time English teachers at Berlitz Language School in our early years in a quite different, far less gentrified and commercial Berlin.

It’s been years since I heard from Monika– also a passionate cook, polyglot, and world adventurer. She had fantastic stories of doing research work with primates in the rainforests of Central America, and we regularly talked travel, came up with new destinations, and talked about unconventional life ambitions and all the wild characters in our lives. Whenever I make this soup, I always think of her and the early 2000s here in Berlin… meeting in sparsely-furnished Altbau flats (for a while she didn’t have a fridge and kept perishable food items outside the kitchen window in the cold), inviting our international friends, telling her techno-junkie neighbor to turn his raging music down, lunch meet-ups doing tech support on flailing iMacs, and most most memorably– picnics and hikes around the countryside lakes.

The recipe she gave me after a dinner party in Friedrichshain was for Carrot Ginger Pumpkin soup. I’ve modified her recipe over the years to include potato (for a vegan creamy texture) and soy milk instead of cream. I also often use other vegetables (in this case zucchini) instead of pumpkin.

I love to cook with what I have in the kitchen, and I still change up this soup accordingly all the time. This is an all-year soup that you can vary in thickness and spice according to weather and whim. Like thicker soups? Easy: Add less water. Not in the mood for thick wintery soup? No trouble: increase the water or soy milk slightly. It’s also easy to make a more South Asian version by increasing the appropriate spices, using fresh turmeric, and I’ve even turned this into a sort of dal (lentil) fusion soup adding a cup of cooked red lentils to the vegetables before puréeing. And if you want a more European and less Asian soup, drop or reduce the cumin and coriander and add lots of fresh thyme, basil, rosemary– and possibly some tomato paste or chopped tomatoes.

This soup works great as a starter served along with a healthy salad (such as my Arugula Pear Walnut salad favorite) warming up to a nice, hearty meal. It impresses guests every time and everyone always asks for more.

It’s also a hit for families and with kids. My son isn’t a big fan of fresh ginger, so I always dial that down and bit and often add cooked lentils. Like his dad, he’s kinda a Dal-aholic.

Double the soup and have enough for a few days. You won’t get bored of it, especially if you have plenty of good bread, tasty crackers, or your own tasty croutons. It can also be frozen and kept for a quick, delicious meal next week, or whenever when you’re too lazy to cook.

Carrot Ginger Zucchini Soup

serves 4 / time 35 min

recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – WORLD 2.0
(Rezept auf Deutsch unten)

  • 3 medium (300 g) carrots peeled, chopped
  • 3 medium (300 g) potatoes peeled, chopped
  • 1 medium (250 g) zucchini chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small red (60 g) onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 in (3 cm) fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp coriander ground
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg ground
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1/2 tsp paprika ground
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine or water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric ground
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes optional 
  • 3/4 tsp salt more as needed
  • 1 cup (240 ml) soy milk
  • 3 cups (720 ml) vegetable broth
  • or 3 cups (720 ml) water + 1 Tbs vegetable broth powder
  • fresh herbs for garnish
  1. Heat oil in large pot on medium heat. Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger, ground cumin, coriander, nutmeg, black pepper, and paprika. Mix well. Fry until garlic and onions are browned, 2–3 min.
  2. Add chopped carrots, potatoes, and zucchini. Mix well with spices, cook until browned, 3–5 min.
  3. Add lemon juice and 1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine (or water). Cook partially covered, stirring often, until all vegetables are soft, 7–10 min. Remove from heat.
  4. Transfer to a blender. Add soy milk and purée until smooth. (Alternately use an immersion blender.)
  5. Return purée to pot on medium heat. Stir in turmeric and nutritional yeast flakes (if using) and simmer 2–3 min.
  6. Stir in 2–3 cups (480–720 ml) vegetable broth (or water and broth powder) gradually, maintaining  a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer to desired consistency, another 5–10 min, gradually adding more broth or water as needed.
  7. Continue to cook on medium low heat, reduce to desired consistency. Stir in salt, adjusting to taste.
  8. Garnish with fresh herbs and some ground paprika and black pepper.
  9. Serve with bread, croutons, or crackers.


Vedic: Replace garlic and onions with 1/8 tsp asafoetida (hing) and 1 tsp black mustard seeds.
Pumpkin: Replace carrots and zucchini with chopped pumpkin. Cashew creamy: Instead of soy milk,
blend with 1 cup (240 ml) water and 2–3 Tbs cashews, ideally soaked for 30 min beforehand.

The Lotus and the Artichoke - WORLD 2.0 Vegan Cookbook cover


4 Portionen / Dauer 35 Min.

  • 3 mittelgroße (300 g) Möhren geschält, gehackt
  • 3 mittelgroße (300 g) Kartoffeln geschält, gehackt
  • 1 mittelgroße (250 g) Zucchini gehackt
  • 2 EL Olivenöl
  • 1 kleine rote (60 g) Zwiebel gehackt
  • 2 Knoblauchzehen fein gehackt
  • 3 cm frischer Ingwer gehackt
  • 1 TL Kreuzkümmel gemahlen
  • 1 TL Koriander gemahlen
  • 1/8 TL Muskat gemahlen
  • 1/2 TL schwarzer Pfeffer gemahlen
  • 1/2 TL Paprikapulver
  • 1 EL Zitronensaft
  • 1/4 Tasse (60 ml) Weißwein oder Wasser
  • 1/2 TL Kurkuma gemahlen
  • 1 EL Hefeflocken wenn gewünscht
  • 3/4 TL Salz bei Bedarf mehr
  • 1 Tasse (240 ml) Sojamilch
  • 3 Tassen (720 ml) Gemüsebrühe
  • oder 3 Tassen (720 ml) Wasser
    + 1 EL Gemüsebrühpulver
  • frische Kräuter zum Garnieren
  1. Öl in einem großen Topf auf mittlerer Flamme erhitzen. Zwiebel, Knoblauch, Ingwer, Kreuzkümmel, Koriander, Muskat, schwarzen Pfeffer und Paprikapulver hineingeben. Unter Rühren 2 bis 3 Min. anschwitzen, bis Zwiebel und Knoblauch gebräunt sind.
  2. Möhren, Kartoffeln und Zucchini hinzufügen. Gut umrühren und 3 bis 5 Min. anbraten, bis das Gemüse gebräunt ist.
  3. Zitronensaft und 1/4 Tasse (60 ml) Weißwein oder Wasser einrühren. Halb abgedeckt unter häufigem Rühren 7 bis 10 Min. dünsten, bis das Gemüse weich ist. Vom Herd nehmen.
  4. Gemüsemischung in einen Mixer geben, Sojamilch zugießen und glatt pürieren. (Alternativ einen Stabmixer verwenden.)
  5. Pürierte Suppe zurück in den Topf gießen. Kurkuma und Hefeflocken (falls verwendet) einrühren und 2 bis 3 Min. köcheln lassen.
  6. Während die Suppe leicht weiter köchelt, nach und nach 2 bis 3 Tassen (480-720 ml) Gemüsebrühe einrühren. Flamme niedrig stellen und weitere 5 bis 10 Min. köcheln lassen, bis die gewünschte Konsistenz erreicht ist. Bei Bedarf etwas mehr Brühe oder Wasser unterrühren.
  7. Auf niedriger Flamme weiterköcheln und bis zur gewünschten Konsistenz reduzieren. Salz einrühren, abschmecken und bei Bedarf nachwürzen.
  8. Mit frischen gehackten Kräutern, Paprikapulver und schwarzem Pfeffer garnieren und mit Brot, Croutons oder Crackern servieren.


Vedisch: Knoblauch und Zwiebel mit 1/8 TL Asafoetida (Asant) and 1 TL schwarzen Senfsamen ersetzen. Kürbis: Statt Möhren und Zucchini gehackten Kürbis verwenden. Cremig mit Cashewkernen: Statt Soja- selbstgemachte Cashewmilch verwenden. Dafür 1 Tasse (240 ml) Wasser mit 2 bis 3 EL (am besten vorher 30 Min. eingeweichten) Cashewkernen pürieren.

The Lotus and the Artichoke - WORLD 2.0 Vegan Cookbook cover