One of the most wonderful tastes on this planet is the tangy spice, chilli and tamarind mix of Indian street food. It is glorious, addictive, and quite mind blowing. The flavours have a party in your mouth. No, truly! If you are doubting me, head off to your nearest good Indian restaurant and try Pani Puri, or Samosa Chaat – any chaat for that matter – and even Rasam will give you a sample of the hot and sour tastes that make up Indian food.
This recipe takes the notion of the hot, sour, salty and sweet flavour mix and stuffs it inside a potato cake made from mashed potatoes. It mimics the Aloo Tika and Potato Cutlet snacks of India, Podimas recipes of South India, and more recently I saw a fabulous BALL of mashed potato full of North Indian street-food flavours.
This is a recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More – we are making our way through this book, cooking as we go. I always feel free to play with his recipes to suit our tastes, and the ingredients in our pantry, kitchen and garden (especially now that I have made so many of them). I made minor alterations to this one. If you want to see the original recipe check out his books and his Guardian column.
Aloo Tikki | Spice-Stuffed Potato Patties
ingredients for four, about 20 potato patties
1 kg medium new or waxy potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered ie cut into even sized pieces
1 tspn ground turmeric
2 -3 tspn black mustard seeds, toasted (see notes in recipe)
2 green chillies, roughly chopped
2 – 4 tspn tamarind paste (or more, see note in recipe – tamarind pastes and concentrates vary in their strength)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
0.5 tspn palm sugar, grated jaggery or caster sugar
sunflower oil, for frying
1 lemon, cut into wedges, or a sweet chutney, to serve
In a tadka pan or small frying pan, toast with about half a tspn oil. The mustard seeds will pop – it is helpful to have a lid or they will jump everywhere. The popping removes their bitter flavour and they become beautifully nutty. Remove from the heat, place all into a small bowl and set aside.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for around 30 minutes until soft, checking after about 20 mins. The time taken will depend on the size of the potato pieces. When cooked, transfer to a bowl with the turmeric, toasted mustard seeds and 0.25 tspn salt. Mash well and leave to cool.
Put the coriander, mint, chillies, 1 tspn tamarind paste, garlic, sugar and another 0.25 tspn salt into a food processor and blitz to a smooth, dry paste. Taste the paste. It should have a really bold tangy, salty, sweet, hot flavour – the taste of Indian street food. It it is not tangy enough, add more tamarind paste and blitz again until well mixed. Remember that this will be embedded in a potato cake so the flavours need to be stronger than what you might expect.
Take a small handful of the potato mixture (about 40g in weight) and shape into a ball. Place this in the palm of one hand and use the thumb of the other hand to make a dent large enough to fill with a tspn of the chilli-herb mix. Once the mixture is added, cup your hands around the potato and shape it back into a ball, then flatten it between both hands so the cake is about 1.5cm thick. Repeat with the remaining potato and spice mixture until it’s used up – you should have about 20 or so patties – then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Smear the base of a large, non-stick frying pan with sunflower oil. Place over a medium heat and, once hot, fry the patties in batches for five to eight minutes, turning once, until light golden and crisp on the outside. Serve at once, with a wedge of lemon or some sweet chutney on the side.
recipe notes and alternatives
The patties can also be shallow fried, deep fried or grilled.
There are a variety of ways you can serve the potato patties.
- Serve with a sprinkle of chaat masala, lemon and chutneys, and accompany with a cuppa milky sweet tea or masala chai.
- Serve with Chole (Chickpea Curry) and onion rings or onion salad.
- Serve covered with dried white peas curry and topped with red and green chutneys.
- Serve in burger buns with fried onions.
- Serve with spiced yoghurt and onion rings.
Leftover potato mix and stuffing can be used in Indian style toasted sandwiches. Add some peas to the potato mix if you like.