xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Trinidad Aloo (Potato) Pie

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Trinidad Aloo (Potato) Pie

Aloo pie is fried dough filled with savory mashed potatoes that’s seasoned simply with bandhania (culantro), cumin, onion and garlic.  This snack (or meal) is right up there in popularity with doubles, pholourie and bake and shark.  The doubles vendor almost always have aloo pies and I’ve been known to order one or two, along with four doubles, just to satisfy my “big eye” (as in “she eye big”), as we say in Trinidad. Just means I have a voracious appetite.

As I mentioned on my Facebook page, my hubbie (the Dah) encouraged me to share the recipe immediately on my blog because he claims that it tastes just like his mother’s! I have never seen this man devour so much aloo pies or food in such a short time. I was concerned because I made it Saturday and again on Sunday to take pics for the blog, and he ate about seven pies in two days! On Friday he was boasting about his two pack abdomen. By Sunday, it looked more like a barrel and there was no more mention of his sexy physique, but don’t tell him I said that. Yes, it’s that good, especially good hot, straight out of the pot.

At the Trinidadian restaurants and vendors, the aloo pies are filled with curried channa at your request, but they are amazing alone or with mango or tamarind chutney or hot sauce.  Personally, I prefer homemade aloo pies to the bought ones because:
1. it contains more potato mixture (aloo)
2. it’s not fried with re-used oil, so the taste is cleaner
3. it’s not as oily because they are not stacked on each other in layers upon layers!
4. my recipe is all round tastier ([singing] if i do say so myself). You be the judge and let me know.

Cook’s notes:
  • There are many recipes without onions, but I enjoy the little crunch they add. If you don’t like eating raw onions, don’t worry, they cook while they are being mashed with the hot potatoes.
  • The finely chopped peppers add tiny bursts of spiciness and flavor. For me, they always offer a nice surprise.
  • Many recipes call for a large amount of cumin, but I don’t like adding too much cumin as it overpowers the taste of everything else, considering some of the chutneys are also made with cumin.
  • This recipe makes 12 but can be made smaller to enjoy or serve as an appetizer.

Makes 12 large 

3 cups flour
6 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons Himalayan salt
About 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

Potato Filling
2 pounds potato ( I used organic golden potatoes)
4-5 large bandhania (aka culantro, recao) leaves (plus 1 thinly sliced) (optional but recommended)
½ medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) (I used Vidalia onion)
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon roasted ground cumin (geera)
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Hot pepper (bird pepper, habanero or scotch bonnet pepper), to taste


1  . Knead flour:--In a bowl mix flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually add water and knead flour to form a soft, smooth dough. The key to a soft dough is not folding over the flour too often (once all the water has been added, just press gently with the knuckles to smoothen, turn over, repeat). Cover with a towel and let it rest until you are ready to use it.

2. Cook potatoes: Peel and wash potatoes. Place 8 cups of water in a saucepan over high heat. Add potatoes, bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender but not overcooked. Drain, place in a large bowl and set aside.

3. While the potatoes are boiling, mince garlic, bandhania (if using) and hot pepper (if using) using a food processor or mortar and pestle. Peel and chop onions.

4. Add the minced ingredients, salt and cumin to the bowl with the potatoes. Mash with a fork, breaking up all chunks. (I like to add some more sliced bandhania and hot peppers).

Assemble Pies

1. Using your strong hand, squeeze off pieces of flour between thumb and forefinger to make 12 little balls. This way you don’t have to reshape after separating the dough.

2. Lightly flour surface. Using your fingers, flatten each ball into a 4 inch disc. Place a handful of potato (about 3 heaping tablespoons) mixture and bring the sides up over the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal all the way around. Then fold over the edges(see no 5 below).

3. Place upright and press the dough gently to flatten while pulling apart to lengthen. Place flat on the counter and then press gently with the palm of your hand to flatten. Place the completed filled dough on a floured surface and cover with towel.  

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the remaining balls of dough.

   To fry:

1. Heat about 1 cup of oil (use more if your pot is wider) in a small dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Add a small pinch of dough. The oil is ready when it floats and darkens.
2. Gently place filled dough into the hot oil, two at a time if the pot is big enough. Using a spoon(for God's sake and yours), continuously pour hot oil over the dough. When the bottom is golden brown, flip and cook the other side until golden brown also. Drain on the side of the pot and place in a single layer, on a paper towel lined platter. Cover with a paper towel, then a kitchen towel.

3. Repeat with the remaining filled dough.

Upon completion, bask in the glory of your accomplishment. 
Eat to your heart's content while it's hot. 
Take a nap. 
Do not repeat for a while. 
Do share with loved ones........if there are any leftovers.

       With love....
         .......and best aloo pies,


Cooking with Ria said...

Yum, this look sooooo good! I can't wait to try it.

Cooking with Ria said...

If I had cumin I would make it now looks so delish

Cooking with Ria said...

Going to make some of these for my bajan husband now. He loves them.

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