Dhampur – Dinner is Served!

Dhampur’s city streets

If you’ve heard of Dhampur, India at all, you’re probably thinking either ‘sugar mill’ or ‘don’t go out at night.” Chances are, you haven’t heard of Dhampur. Six long hours from Delhi, Dhampur hosts a bustlingly market, a sugar mill, some schools, lots of fields of sugar cane, and little else. Unless you are a traveler with a love of discovering the ‘real India,’ there’s very little reason you’d come here. Except, of course, for the food…  Dhampur’s divinely sweet desserts and sweets couldn’t get any fresher with the sugar being grown and produced virtually on the confectioners’ doorsteps.  And then there’s the diverse salty wonders that are namkeen sold from great barrels, fresh samosas, potato cakes, spiced chickpeas, rose ice-creams, pakoras, …  Visit the Punjabi quarter for your fix of Punjab’s finest or try the market for exotic fruits and vegetables.And if you can’t go out at night, what do you do with yourself? Cook! The women of Dhampur seem to be born with an uncanny ability to cook. In times of hardship, they can somehow turn two potatoes and three tomatoes into a feast fit for a king.  In better times, the feasts take on epic proportions and you go home wondering if your food baby may well be quintuplets.

Some of Dhampur’s fresh delights…

Rashi Adhikari is a bright young lady already achieving her dream of becoming a great chef. She has already earned acclaim for her talents in the kitchen, where she blends tastes from all over India. A fan of cooking shows, Rashi draws inspiration from all over the world. Her family and friends couldn’t be more delighted with the time and effort she puts into practicing her craft- particularly when they called upon to try the latest creation.  Spicy or sweet, breakfast or dinner, veg or non-veg: whatever this talented young cook serves up is always delicious.

Rashi is delighted to be sharing her recipe for Mustard Potatoes with City Connect readers. Enjoy!

Mustard Potatoes

Mustard Potato

Ingredients: —–    

     Potato                                      -                        10 to 12 (Small)

      Mustard Oil                        -                        2tbsp

      Mustard Paste                        -                        2tsp

       Ginger paste                        -                        1tsp

       Garlic paste                        -                        2tsp

      Tomato puree                         -                        half cup

     Onion paste                         -                        2tbsp

      Asafoetida (heeng)            -                        1pinch

      Cumin                                    -                        1/2tsp           

      Salt                                    -                        To taste

      Turmeric Powder             -                        1tsp.

      Red chili Powder            -                        To taste

      Coriander Powder            -                        1tsp

      Coriander leaf                         -                        To garnish

       Water                                    -                        as required

      Garam masala                         -                        ½tsp


NOTES- Mustard paste is made from pureed mustard seeds, rather than the mustard available from supermarkets. Garam masala should be readily available at your local supermarket. If you cannot find it, prepare a mixture of cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, and cloves to taste.



1) Wash and peel the small potatoes. Small potatoes can be left whole, larger potatoes should be cut into smaller pieces and par boiled.

2) Heat the mustard oil in pan on a medium heat.

3) Add Asafoetida and cumin to oil and let them pop.

4) Brown the potatoes in the oil until half-cooked.

5) Using a blender or mortar and pestle, blend ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and mustard, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, garam masala and salt into a thick paste.

6) Add paste to the pan with the potato and fry on low heat until the paste become brown and potato is fully cooked.

7) Garnish with Finely chopped Coriander

Serve and enjoy the innovative flavours of Dhampur’s finest up and coming chef!

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About Verity Danbold

Verity Danbold has written extensively for stage and page. After completing her BA Honours (English and Drama) and MA (Theatre and Development) at the University of East Anglia, Verity went on to write for a number of international NGOs, including the UN Maternal Health Project in Cambodia, dance4life Vietnam and Empowerment International in Nicaragua. Her creative writing credits include Scenes from an Everyday Affair and Soliloquies for My Lost Sisters, nominated for Best Emerging Writer and Green Room Awards in the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival. She is currently working on the film of Soliloquies and two new works.
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