Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Indian Potato Fritters (Aloo Bonda)

When I first received my Saveur Magazine, The India Issue (#167), many months ago, I could not put it down. Even today, I always have the magazine near my kitchen, ratty and creased with many corners turned in, standing by just in case I feel like making something great tasting and full of spices and flavors.

One of the first recipes I tried was the Aloo Bonda (potato fritters) which were gone almost as soon as I finished making them. They are accompanied by a tamarind sauce, but Sriracha tastes good with them as well. The hardest part about this recipe was finding the black mustard seeds, which I ordered thru Amazon.com. Luckily enough I live in an area where Indian and Middle Eastern stores are abundant and was able to find the rest of the ingredients. Like the black mustard seeds, if you can't find an ingredient in your area, try using Amazon.com or other online grocery shopping sites.

  • 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 4 fresh or frozen curry leaves, minced
  • 1 (1½") piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 small green Thai chile or ½ serrano, minced
  • ½ small yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. minced cilantro
  • 1½ tsp. red chile powder, such as cayenne
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda

Boil potatoes in a 6-qt. saucepan of water until tender, 12–14 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl; using a potato masher, coarsely mash potatoes.

Add 3 tbsp. oil to pan; heat over medium-high. Cook cumin seeds, ½ tsp. turmeric, and the mustard seeds until fragrant and seeds begin to pop, 1–2 minutes. Add curry leaves, ginger, chile and onion; cook until golden, 4–6 minutes. Let cool slightly and add to bowl with potatoes.

Add cilantro, ½ tsp. chile powder, and salt; using hands, mix until smooth. Divide mixture into thirty-two ½-oz. balls.

Heat 2" oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Whisk remaining turmeric and chile powder, the chickpea and rice flours, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and ½ cup water in a bowl until a smooth batter forms.

Working in batches, dip potato balls in batter; fry, turning as needed, until golden and crisp, 1–2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer aloo bonda to paper towels to drain; season with salt.

Serve with coconut-cilantro and tamarind chutneys if you like.