December 21, 2023
ALOO KI TIKKI IS THE FOOD OF MY CHILDHOOD. When you have over fifty cousins - yep, that's right, and you visit India where many of them live, you grow up quite naughty. My grandmother would command us never to eat from the vendors on the streets lest my Americanized stomach had issues. Of course we would and of course I'd always get sick. But, to this day, I say it was all worth it. These spiced potato patties are essentially the original veggie burger sold everywhere on the streets and in the train stations of India. They are practical. Vegetarian and long-lasting, they can be safely packed for a long train ride or a day of sightseeing. But, even better? They are delicious.
Usually pan-fried in oil, these little beauties are even better coming out of the Air Fryer. You use very little oil and can make up a batch of the mixture, pull it out of the fridge, and whip these up before your guests come over or on the weekend for your family.
Air Fryer: Aloo ki Tikki, Spicy Potato Patties
Makes about 20, 2.25-inches in diameter, patties
1/3 cup frozen peas
2 medium-large Russet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1/4 cup minced red onion
1-inch piece ginger, minced or grated
1/2 - 4 Thai or Serrano chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon amchur powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Place the peas in a bowl. Pour boiling water over them and let them sit and soften while you prep the remaining ingredients.
2. Boil the potatoes with the skin for 25 minutes. Other recipes recommend 10 to 15 minutes. I prefer the potatoes softer and they need to be cooked through. I also boil my potatoes with the skin on. Just be sure to scrub them down and wash them well before boiling. The potatoes I used are between 4 1/2-inches and 6-inches long.
3. Once cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and place them on a large tray. Mash them down with the back of a fork or a potato masher. This is important in order to get the right texture. I tried grating them with a box grater and it did not come out like a true aloo ki tikki. It helps to work on a large baking tray, which feels more contained. You'll end up with about 3 cups mashed.
4. Once completely mashed down, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed: onion, ginger, fresh chiles, turmeric, ground cumin, coriander powder, garam masala, amchur, red chile powder, salt, besan, and lemon juice.
5. Mix everything together until well blended. I use kitchen gloves and use my hands, which helps pull everything together and it ensures that I don't get pepper on my hands. Another benefit to using hands is that you can feel the larger chunks of potato and mash them down further. The peas will surprisingly mostly keep their shape.
6 Once the mixture is well combined, use a 2 tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out the mixture - I make it a heaping scoop. Shape the potato mixture in your hands into round balls, flatten them into patties, and lay them out on a baking tray. It helps to keep a bowl of water nearby to dip your hands into and/or the measuring spoon. The small amount of moisture helps to mold the patties better. Continue until the mixture is finished. This makes about 20 patties, about 2.25 inches in diameter.
7. Spray them lightly with oil. Lay the patties oil-side down in the basket. Then, spray them lightly with oil again. Lay them in the basket in one layer. Avoid too much touching - a little is okay. I can fit about 9 in my small basket. Cook them at 390 degrees for 15 minutes. No need to flip. Enjoy hot with Indian As Apple Pie Tamarind chutney and my mint-cilantro chutney. Smash it between bread as a veggie burger with the chutney and a few slices of onion.
ANUPY'S NOTES: Boiling the potatoes ahead of time and even mixing the ingredients ahead of time helps. But, keep in mind, that warm potato holds together better than cold. Let your potatoes come to room temperature for the best results. Also, take the time to mash the potatoes down completely. Too many large chunks will also make the patties fall apart. I was shocked how much of a difference fork-mashed and box grated made. Definitely take the time to mash these down to get the correct texture. Swap out any spices you want, the ones that I've listed will give you that street-vendor taste profile.
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