Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Potato, Two Potato, Indian Party-Perfect Finger Food

   When I was a kid, if anyone had asked me what my favorite finger food was, (actually the term finger food wasn't yet coined) I probably would have said Tater Tots. I know, Tater Tots are actually supposed to be eaten with a fork, but in my house they counted as a finger food. At least when my mother wasn't looking they did. Nothing was better than tossing a nice puffy hot chunk of tater into my eleven year old maw. Or against the wall. Splat. Tater Tot War. Also when my mother wasn't looking.

   Well I've outgrown Tater Tots but like many first loves, they still hold a fond place in my heart. So when I was planning my birthday party this year, l have to admit, I was looking for the Indian equivalent. I found them, and their name is called Bonda. Bonda are a South Indian snack, sometimes sweet but more often savory. They can be stuffed with anything from vegetables in all varieties, to spicy mashed potatoes. They had me at potatoes.
   This easy tasty snack food consists mainly of spiced, mashed potatoes rolled into balls, dipped in a batter of spices and chickpea flour (yes, these are gluten free!) then fried. The filling can be made ahead, then they can be prepared ahead of time and kept warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to be served.


Indian Potato Fritters

Here's What You Need:

4 russet potatoes
4 green serrano chilies seeded and finely chopped
A 1 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
salt to taste
2 large onions finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
oil for frying
3 tsp unsalted butter
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
1 dried red chili cut in half
6 curry leaves
2 cups of chickpea flour (besan flour)
2 tsp of Kashmiri chili (1/2 tsp paprika mixed with 1/2 tsp of cayenne)
water as needed

Here's What To Do:

Boil the potatoes in their peels.
Let them cool, then peel, mash them and set them aside.
Heat 3 tsp of unsalted butter.
When the butter is hot, toss in the mustard seeds, urad dal, the halved red chili,and the curry leaves.

When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the finely chopped green chilies, ginger and onions.

Cook everything down for about 3 minutes or so.
Add in the mashed potato...

...salt to taste , turmeric

and chopped cilantro.

Cook everything together for another 3 minutes or so, until it's all blended. Take the pan off the heat, set it aside and let it cool.

Shape the potato mixture into balls. There should be about 10 to 15 of them.

Set the potato balls aside.

Now it's time to make the batter:

In a large bowl, mix together the chickpea flour, salt, chili powder and water.
Mix it all together until the batter hits dropping consistency. This is a matter of judgement. The batter should neither be too thick nor too thin.

It should be a bit thinner than this. Remember, if it's not working correctly, just thin it with a bit more water.
In a kadhai or deep skillet, heat the oil for deep frying. I used about 3 cups of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot, dip a potato ball into the batter bowl.
Coat it and place it into the boiling oil. BE CAREFUL!
Let them float and cook in the oil until they're a toasty brown.

Fish them out with a slotted spoon, place them on a paper towel-covered plate to drain away excess oil, then pop them onto a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven to keep them warm.
That's it. When you're ready, serve them up.

   I served them with three different chutneys, a sweet hot Seeni Sambol, a firey hot cilantro and peanut chutney and a mild, cooling mint raita. A spread of several relishes and chutneys running the gamut from hot hot hot, to soothing cool is the perfect accompaniment for cute little potato bites.

   They were super popular and in fact I doubled this recipe and still could have used a few more. As a friend said, "they're addicting". Even more addicting than Tater Tots!

   Of course I had a birthday cake.

And it wouldn't be a party without presents. Alan gave me a set of All Clad cookware  which was a total surprise. I thought he was going out on the deck to sneak a smoke when actually he was unloading them from a friend's car where they'd been hidden.

   I guess I could have used some new stuff since I've been cooking with the same metal pots and pans I first bought when I left home at the age of 21 to move to LA. They're not going to be taking the place of my clay, which was the first thing that Paula Wolfert said when I opened the box (she has them too). It just feels nice to finally have Big Girl Pans and also to get punked by Alan!

   Patsy had her own little party in a corner of the living room with her new friend Ryo.

Ryo was visiting from Japan with his dad and since he has an Akita there was a bonding over dog cookies and some sneaky cheese. He took a piece of birthday cake into a corner and Patsy literally ran after him. I've never seen her move so fast. If this doesn't look like the total picture of Cake Guilt I don't know what does.

"Who Us?!" 
   Everyone had a great time and the spicy little Indian Tater Tots won themselves a place on my permanent party rotation. I'll be out in the kitchen rattling my new pots and pans, and coming up next I'll be getting back to my Green Mango Rice. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. Bondas look yum,,:) I like them too, with a cup of hot tea,..

  2. They are known as "Aloo chop" in my state Orissa.We add roasted peanuts to the filling to add a crunch! :) Yummmmy!

  3. These are so delicious! Just love 'em!

  4. I can't say I'll ever outgrow tater tots, but I do love the spiced up "version!" Sounds like a wonderful birthday...NICE set!!

  5. Belated happy birthday Kathy ! Yes, I can see that surprise on your face while you opened the present:-) And the fritters look fantastic !

  6. Happy Birthday - a bit late. I don't know if I'm more envious of the pretty cake, those wonderful Indian potatoes or those saucepans. (I think it's the saucepans)

    When I moved from the states to Australia I was at the deli one day and asked for 300 grams of tater tots. The lady behind the counter said, "300 grams of what???"

    I looked at her like she'd just come from Mars and repeated, "The Tater Tots," this time just a little bit louder and enunciating as clearly as I could.

    She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Can you point to them?" The other people around me were looking at me funny too.

    Finally this really tall man (I'm short) comes up and in a very American accent says, "they're potato gems here."

    Who knew? They are still wonderful when a nostalgic moment is needed.

  7. Thank you so much. I made these last night with a few adjustments to match my cupboard contents and they were delicious! I tripled the batch and you were right, it wasn't enough. They were snapped up in a flash!

    1. Lisabee,
      I'm so glad you enjoyed them. There are a lot of ways of fixing these both sweet and savory i'm hoping tobtry some more combos

  8. Yes those nostalgic moments are treasures!



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