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Aloo Pie (with Cucumber Chutney) Recipe

Aloo Pies Fried and GoldenAloo pie is another of those street foods in Trinidad and Tobago. It may not be sold by every doubles man, but where you see a doubles man with backup (a van or extra people with lots of coolers) he may well be selling some additional goodies, like aloo pie. It’s construction makes it another ideal receptacle for channa and chutney and served this way, it’s often more substantial than a doubles. While aloo pie clearly has its roots in our Indian heritage, by this name it is so definitely a trini food, that is has its own (small) entry on Wikipedia as such.

I have vivid memories of my grandmother making this (as well as aloo roti of course) and definitely my mother. It’s a Ramadan regular as well, usually in small sizes for easy sharing to large groups. What I don’t like about the street version is where they minge on the aloo. So you end up with dry fried dough, that you HAVE to fill with channa or lots of chutney for it to taste any good. Might as well be buying fry bake (which is all well and good if that’s what is being sold!). No, aloo pie by definition must have aloo in every bite. Savoury, maybe spicy, always geera-y ALOO.

Aloo Pie with Cucumber Chutney wm

The best purchased aloo pie I have had – was from a lady who sold them in UWI, usually around Nat Sci, Maria. I don’t know if she’s still around, but she used to sell out of a big black duffel bag and her pies were fat and stuffed. Greasy of course…it IS deep-fried, but what made it even better was the fresh grated mango chutney you could get with the pie. Half ripe yellow raw mango, grated and mixed with the best of seasonings and hot pepper, maybe a dash of vinegar?. There was a mix of sourness and sweetness to the mango, and the heat…oh the heat! The combination of deep fried plus pepper (these were the days when I had a loooow tolerance for pepper) guaranteed that the rest of the day I felt the burn, but I couldn’t pass it up. It was that good.

Biting into a mouthful of seasoned potato with the slight crunch of the mango…yum…fresh grated mango chutney is among my favourites, possibly because of this memory. I didn’t have the right mango to replicate this taste, so I tried another favourite – cucumber – not as flavourful as mango, but a nice combination of coolness and a bit of a crunch.

Recipes for aloo pie and cucumber chutney with photos below.You will find similar recipes in the Naps cookbook, and even the TriniGourmet uses more or less the same flour-baking powder-water proportions. The difference in this recipe is  what I learned from my mother – a touch of yeast. It makes for a nice elastic dough when you let it rest a bit, that allows you to stretch it a bit more easily, so you can fit much more aloo inside! I also used a touch of oil or shortening, which is entirely optional – it’s not enough to really make it more greasy, after all it IS deep fried, but it does allow for a nice crispiness.

ALOO PIE RECIPE

Ingredients:

Dough
5 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups water (approx – humidity and climate to be considered, I’m in humid tropics)

Filling
2-2.5 lbs potatoes (or 3.5 cups mashed – this is more accurate as my bowl had a measure)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped green herbs (chives/green onions, bandhania/chadon beni etc)
2 tsp ground geera (or more, I like a lot)
1 tsp salt
(a few minced bird peppers or some pepper sauce to taste)

oil for frying

Method

1. Cook potatoes. I microwave them (washed and pricked) and let them cool a bit before peeling and mashing so I don’t burn my fingers (too much).

2. While potatoes are cooling, make the dough – mix dry ingredients together. Add water and oil, mix to combine. Knead on a floured surface for a couple minutes, sprinkle with flour, cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Your dough should be somewhat soft, but not overly sticky.

3. Mash potatoes (fairly smooth, chunky potato will make your life more difficult by piercing the dough when filling the pies). Mix in other ingredients and taste to adjust salt, pepper etc (I was fasting, so I relied on estimated amounts and the hope that the potatoes were not as bland as last week’s supplies).

4. Divide dough into even loyahs/balls (12 large, or up to 20 smaller for party-size), lay on floured surface, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Aloo for the Filling Aloo Pie being filled Aloo Pie Pricked and Edged

5. Flatten a loyah a little, either in your hands or roll out – not too thin, as you want plenty of dough thickness to be able to stretch and flatten later on. Try not to use too much flour that will fall off in the oil. If you’re making large pies, you should be able to fit 2 rounded tablespoonfuls of filling in the pie. Place the filling in the centre of the dough, and ease the ends of the circle around the aloo (trying to stretch the circle evenly) and close (seal with water if necessary).

6. Gently flatten the filled pie, taking care to evenly distribute the filling as you do. You may crimp the edges of the pie with a fork, for extra secure sealing, or prettiness. Prick one side of each pie with a fork about 3 or 4 times.

7. Heat about 3 cm oil in a heavy pan (medium heat). The oil is ready when a tiny ball of dough rises to the surface when dropped in, and sizzles but doesn’t brown instantly.

8. Gently lay pie in oil and as it rises, use your tongs or frying utensil to gently swish oil over the top – this is for even frying and swelling, as well as ensuring that the top of the pie does not remain uncooked and therefore more likely to burst as it swells in the oil. I use this method for fry bakes also. When the pie has swelled evenly and started to blister on the top side, and you can see the golden brown on the underside, flip and cook to the same colour on the other side. Drain on paper.

9. Serve hot, with chutney of your choice, kuchela, channa (you can use the doubles recipe channa, or curry up your own).

Flickr set for all photos of my aloo pie.

 

CUCUMBER CHUTNEY RECIPE

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber, seeded and grated (peeling optional)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped green seasonings (your choice, but try to have bandhania/cilantro and chives)
1 hot pepper minced (or bird pepper, or a nice pepper sauce to taste)
1/2 tsp geera (cumin)
salt and black pepper to taste
dash of vinegar or lime

Method:
Mix all ingredients. Chill. Eat soon.

Note: Adjust seasonings to suit your own taste.

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[Readers may note how prepared I am this year by actually posting Ramadan recipes (even Eid!) before Ramadan is even here. Insha Allah (God Willing) I am helping someone prepare for this 😀 

More deep fried Indo-Trini goodies – doubles, kachourie, baigani, accra (man is this an unhealthy blog…)

And for Ramadan and Eid – barfi, halwa, maleeda, gulab jamoon

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24 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. yes you are helping me have some
    *waiting*

    1. Lilandra on August 26th, 2008 at 1:51 am
  2. Pretty looking aloo pies and I am sure just as tasty………

    2. trinimom on August 26th, 2008 at 7:39 am
  3. i need to visit trini just to savour the street food. all of it sounds fabulous.

    3. bee on August 27th, 2008 at 1:31 pm
  4. I find since you put the watermark on your pictures they are more tasty to look at! :-)Mouthwatering shots – just makes me dribble while I look at them and think about eating aloo pie!!!!

    4. TamarindBall on August 27th, 2008 at 3:11 pm
  5. Bee, just let us know when you’re heading to the Caribbean :-) I’m sure Cynthia’s offered you a tour of Barbados and Guyana already, T&T is the flight connection anyway!

    TB – must be because the watermark will always remind you of chennet, fruit, dessert… 😀

    5. Chennette on August 27th, 2008 at 4:40 pm
  6. Oh God, the second day of my diet and my mouth is watering…
    Thanks for the cucumber chutney recipe, I have done my own made up version but I am glad to learn how its done.

    6. Nicole on August 27th, 2008 at 4:43 pm
  7. Nicole, thanks :-)
    As for the chutney recipe – this is also just my made up version 😀 so I provide it with no semblance of authority whatsoever

    7. Chennette on August 27th, 2008 at 5:50 pm
  8. Chennette, girl, I like how that cucumber chutney looking. Will have to try some soon. :^)

    8. raz4125 on August 27th, 2008 at 6:37 pm
  9. An aloo pie with aloo is such a rare thing these days :) I want to try the chutney but finding genuinely hot pepper is so difficult now.

    The natural light photography is very good.

    9. aka_lol on August 27th, 2008 at 6:38 pm
  10. thanks guys!

    aka – the shot with the chutney, I had to resort to flash since I was actually fasting that day, and by this time it was after sunset and I was ready to eat! But trying to take shots in between flour and dough when it’s just me…sigh…I’m dusting the flour off my camera still.

    10. Chennette on August 27th, 2008 at 8:45 pm
  11. Hey Girl, you know that just two weeks ago I was frying aloo balls and now you gone and tempt me with your aloo pies but I will try and resist the urge to make some by this weekend, I promise, I think (lol) and just the thought of the cucumber chutney makes me want to have some.

    11. Cynthia on August 27th, 2008 at 9:14 pm
  12. your aloo balls may have contributed to my week long craving for aloo pies…the timing seems about right. your fault, then 😀

    12. Chennette on August 27th, 2008 at 9:20 pm
  13. be careful with that flour because they could attract incts such as ants. But there is always Baygon and Bop to nip that in the bud :)

    13. aka_lol on August 28th, 2008 at 5:43 am
  14. Your pies look so good! I love stuffed pockets, and this could be a great addition to my recipes!

    14. farida on September 2nd, 2008 at 2:00 pm
  15. Im gonna try your aloo pies I hope they look as delicious as yours. Last time I made the pie was too rubbery.

    17. Dex on July 25th, 2009 at 10:36 am
  16. Thanks a million for the recipe! I’m a Trini living in Belgium and when a bad craving for food from home hits I can only try to make it myself and improvise when necessary. Haven’t had aloo pies since UWI ( years ago) and woke up today with quite the craving, found your blog and tried the recipe straight away. The dough was perfect! Like biting into a piece of heaven. yum!
    Do you by chance have a recipe for coconut bake? Whatever I’ve tried thus far comes out like a rock cake instead. Thanks again!

    18. Michelle on February 21st, 2010 at 11:24 am
  17. those aloo pies, look very delicious when i make mines they even look better than those……………..

    19. latiffa on April 2nd, 2010 at 3:00 pm
  18. Thank you for putting up your recipe for Aloo Pies. I love good cooking, and yours was the recipe I thought I’d want to use. So I welcome you to keep an eye on my blog, as I post good things there, including a link to your wonderful recipe!

    Blessings!

    Sylvia 😎 +

    20. Sylvia on July 16th, 2010 at 5:14 am
  19. hmmmm, I remember having some cucumber chutney in my doubles. Boy do I love me some doubles!!!!

    25. MartinaJ on April 14th, 2011 at 1:35 pm
  20. yup. essential food!

    26. Chennette on April 14th, 2011 at 7:31 pm
  21. I remember Maria from UWI – she really did have the best pies around. I used to crave for her pies and her cucumber chutney. But sad news – Maria died around 2003. By the kindness of Allah and those who knew Maria, I believe that her son was given a job on campus around Nat Sc. area.. in the lab I think.

    It is nice to see that Maria continues to live on in everyone’s hearts and memories and tummies! :)

    27. Sonia on May 18th, 2011 at 2:20 pm
  22. ohh, sad to hear that. I would have last bought from her sometime before that (not a regular on campus since 1999). I used to come over from law school buy a pie and head straight to UWIIS meetings!

    28. Chennette on May 18th, 2011 at 9:33 pm
  23. Delicious, I will feature it as recipe of the week if you don’t mind (just a link on my sidebar to your post).

    29. Margot on July 8th, 2011 at 10:50 am
  24. I loooooove aloo pie. I MUST try that cucumber chutney recipe! Have my mouth watering over here! lol :)

    30. Minty on July 19th, 2011 at 11:13 am

7 Trackbacks

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