August 26, 2013
“Do you want some potatoes in that tofu wrap?”
Standing at the Whole Foods breakfast counter I had to hold myself back from screaming, “HELL no!” I mean, seriously? If the guy behind the counter only knew how many potatoes I’ve eaten over the last month – all in my quest to perfect my Aloo Tikki recipe.
If you know me at all, you also know how committed I am to Indian street food. I live and breathe for it, and have always tried to replicate it at home. Spicy potato patties are just one favorite. They are traditionally fried by vendors on the streets of North India, doused with tamarind (imlee) chutney and sometimes smashed between a bun. Delicious! Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. And, REAL food. You can’t go wrong with my take on this amazingly addictive street food.
Makes 17 patties, 2 1/2-inches in diameter
3 large potatoes (any kind), boiled and peeled (1 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoon oil (I use grape seed)
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 medium red or yellow onion, minced and divided
1 pinch of coarse sea salt
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated (2 tablespoons)
2 – 3 green Thai, Serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and minced (I use 1 tablespoon)
2/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 heaping teaspoon coriander powder
1 heaping teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchur)
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 heaping tablespoon chickpea flour (besan)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. In a large tray mash your potatoes until there are no lumps. You’ll end up with about 4 cups.
2. Heat oil in an 8-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin and turmeric, and cook until the seeds sizzle, about 30 seconds.
3. Add 2/3 cup onion and pinch of salt. Cook about 2 minutes, mixing to avoid sticking.
4. Add ginger and green chile. Cook another minute. Add peas and cook one more minute. Take this mixture and add it to your potatoes.
3. Add coriander, garam masala, red chile, mango powder, salt, chickpea flour, and 1/3 cup onion. Mix well ideally with your hands or with the back of a fork. (I really love the additional crunch you get with the raw onion.)
4. Add lemon juice and mix again.
5. With your hands, take about ¼ cup of the mixture and make a flat patty out of it that is about 2 ½ inches in diameter. (and yes, i realized after that the measuring cup was facing the wrong way for this picture, but no way was i going to make another batch just to reshoot it.) Continue to make patties out of the entire mixture. Lay them out in a single layer on a large tray. You should be able to make about 17 patties.
6. Lightly oil a large frying pan (I use a 10-inch or larger) and heat over medium-high heat. Carefully place 4 – 5 patties in the pan, and cook them until brown on both sides. Be careful not to overcrowd them or they will be tougher to flip. You may need to turn the heat down as the pan heats up. You can also use a lid to seal in the flavors and really cook them well through. Keep a bowl with oil and a spoon handy, so you can lightly drizzle oil around the patties when and as needed.
Cook them on the first side about 3 minutes. Yes, you will be temped to turn them over right away, but trust me, you need to resist the temptation. Let them brown and caramelize. Once they move easily rather than stick to the pan, they are ready to by flipped. Cook on the other side for the same amount of time. Place on a plate lined with a cloth or paper towel to absorb some of the excess oil. Serve hot with mint and tamarind chutneys.
Tools: Potato masher, 8-inch sauté pan, and 10-inch frying pan.
For a crispier patty, put breadcrumbs on a flat plate. Take your patties and lightly coat them on both sides before frying.
On boiling potatoes, I just put them in boiling water with skin. I don’t even score them. I just let them simmer about 20 minutes until you can poke them with a fork and they are soft. Once cooked, immediately take out of water with tongs and place in a colander. If you leave them in the water too long, they get water logged.