Every Baghdadi-Indian Jew knows what an aloomakala is! It is definitely one of my favorite Shabbat and holiday foods, and even gets my vote as one of my favorite all-around foods.
Aloo means potato in Hindi, and makala means fried in Arabic, so the potatoes reflect the intersection of Indian and Baghdadi cultures. More important than that, the potatoes are out of this world. In Calcutta, you could judge how good a cook someone was by the quality of their aloomakalas. And, as they say, no one can eat just one. Mouthwatering and delicious!
In India, we used whole round potatoes but the best potatoes I have found in the US for aloos, as we fondly refer to them, are Idaho potatoes. The recipe below is an adapted version of aloomakalas, which are traditionally made in a potful of boiling oil, though not much oil is absorbed. This recipe vastly reduces the amount of oil and is less arduous and time-consuming. Enjoy!
8 Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut in half, or thirds if they are large. Cut off the ends of the potatoes to make them flat.
Boil water in a large put and and add 1 tsp of turmeric (huldi). Add potatoes and boil 10-12 minutes. They should be a little soft, otherwise baking will take a long time. Drain.
Put a thin layer of oil in a 9x12 pan. Add the potatoes and turn so they are coated in oil. Roast uncovered in a 400-degree oven. Turn the potatoes every 20 minutes until they are evenly golden brown. They should be crisp on the outside and fluffy inside.
You might not be able to wait to bite into them but be careful as they will be hot! Enjoy!
More on aloomakalas from Ian Zachariah: