Friday, October 22, 2010

Aloo Tikki ( Golden Potato Patties)


Chole Tikki

Aloo Tikki are a favorite snack all over India. Eaten with a little chutney or with protein-rich pea or bean curries, they make a filling meal. As evening approaches, snack vendors get ready with their array of patties sizzling on the griddles waiting for the crowds of people stopping for a late afternoon snack and offer combos such as Ragada-Patties in Western India and as Chole - or Chana -Tikki in the North.

12 Tikki - Allow 2-3 tikki per serving.

Ingredients:

1 lb Potatoes (2 medium to large)
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1/2 tsp Cayenne or Serrano/Jalapeno chile, minced
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1 cup Peas, fresh or frozen
4 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp Amchoor Or Lime/Lemon juice to taste
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Rice Flour

About 1/2 cup Rice flour for coating the patties
About 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking

1/4 cup Green Chutney to serve
1/4 cup Sweet Chutney to serve
Chole/Ragada to serve (optional)

Method:

Make shallow cuts around the middle of each potato (this helps to peel them quickly); cook them whole in water to cover or in a pressure cooker until done.

Peel the potatoes while still hot. Mash them coarsely, stir in the onions and peas; let cool.

Add ginger, chili, cilantro, salt, rice flour and lime juice to taste to the potatoes and mix well.

Divide into twelve portions and form the potato mixture into patties.

Dredge each patty in the flour and shake off any excess. If made ahead, chill up to 2 days.

Cook the patties slowly with a bit of oil on a griddle or skillet until golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot with green and sweet chutneys or Chole/Ragada.

Golden Aloo Tikki

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homegrown Greens/Herbs: Garlic Chives


Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) is a gorgeous member of the onion family. Similar in flavor to chives, garlic chives have a mild garlic flavor and is often used as a vegetable in Asian cuisines. Known as Gau Choy, Chinese chives, Nira, etc, both the leaves and the young flower stalks with the buds and the flowers can be used in cooking in place of green onions or regular chives.

Garlic chives can be easily grown from seeds or plant divisions. It is a perennial plant that does not require a lot of care. Once planted, it slowly spreads and self seeds also. Harvest the grass like leaves and flower stalks by cutting close to the base. The seeds can be collected to make delicious tasting sprouts during winter months when the chives themselves slow down.

Garlic chives make wonderful border plants in regular as well as the herb gardens with the fragrant and attractive white star-shaped flowers. I have used them in bouquets in high summer when there aren't a lot of other flowers in the garden. The nectar-rich blossoms attract humming birds and beneficial insects like bees.

Use garlic chives as garnish, flavoring, or as veggies in all your recipes in place of regular chives or green onions/scallions. They are delicious in soups and salads too. Here are a few suggestions of recipes: Corn Chowder, Spinach Raita, Fried Rice, and East-West Tofu Toast.

Potato Bonda (Spiced Potato Fritters)

Potato Bonda with Sweet and Green Chutneys

Potato Bonda is probably Paji's all time favorite snack. It is a traditional afternoon tea-time treat all over Southern and Western India. In Mumbai area it is called "Batata Vada" and is a very popular street snack. Seasoned potato and vegetable balls are dipped in batter and fried to make Potato or Aloo Bonda. If you prepare the potatoes a day ahead, bonda making goes together pretty quickly.

Ingredients:

Potato Filling:
1 recipe Basic Potato Curry
1 recipe Bajji Batter
Oil for deep frying
Assorted Chutneys, ketchup, etc. to serve

Method:

Prepare the Potato Curry; make into 1 inch balls and set aside. Chill if made ahead.

Potato Balls

Prepare the batter: Mix the ingredients to make a fairly thick batter. The batter should form a thick coat for the potato balls.

Heat oil for deep frying. When hot, slip in batter coated potato balls carefully without splashing the hot oil or crowding.
Bondas are almost ready!
Bits of Boondi cooking on the edges.


Turn the bondas gently and carefully to cook well browned on all sides; don't break off the little irregular bits dangling off the bondas - they add character and crunch!!

When golden brown, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Bondas Ready to Eat!

Serve hot with your favorite chutneys - basic green, sweet and sour date-tamarind, fresh coconut, and/or green chili. Chili-tomato Chutney or tomato ketchup are also delicious options.

If there is any of the batter left at the end, dribble little bits through your fingers or through a slotted spoon into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Boondi

These little bits known as Boondi are crisp and crunchy and make a lovely snack. They can also be used as a garnish for raita and other dishes.

Aloo Chana Chat (Potato, Chick Peas, & Veggie Salad Meal)

Aloo Chana Chat

Chats are piquantly spiced snack dishes often laced with lime juice prepared with readily available ingredients. Aloo Chana Chat (Ah-loo Chanah Chah-t) is more than a simple snack of seasoned potatoes and chick peas. It is another dish based on the ubiquitous snacks offered by snack vendors all over India. With the protein- and fiber-rich chick peas or garbanzos, crisp veggies, crunchy sev, and a sweet and sour dressing made with chutneys, it can double as a filling and nutritious meal. Served with a side of cooling plain Yogurt or the yogurt based beverage Lassi, it makes a delicious repast especially during summertime.

Clockwise from the top: Carrots, Lemon, Cucumber, Red Onion,
Green Chili, Chick Peas, Potato, Cilantro; Sev in the center

I used sprouted chick peas here but un-sprouted or canned may be used as well. The chutneys can be homemade or store-bought. Other crisp fresh veggies and fresh or steamed sprouts may be added. This is a basic blueprint recipe and you are welcome to vary the ingredients and their amounts as you wish. Sprinkle more chilies or ground hot red pepper (cayenne) on individual servings if you like it spicy.

Sweet and Green Chutneys

Chat Masala is a handy spice-mix great for sprinkling on baked regular or sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, sliced fruit, salads, or other veggies. Sev is ready to eat fried noodles made of garbanzo flour and spices. All these ingredients including the chutneys are readily available at Indian markets.

4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 medium potato, cooked in its jacket
1 cup cooked (sprouted) Chick Peas (click here for directions)
1 small Red Onion, chopped
1 small Carrot, finely grated
1 Persian or 1/2 an English Cucumber, chopped
1 small bunch Cilantro, chopped
1 or 2 Serrano/Jalapeno Chili, finely chopped (optional)
1 cup Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup Fine Sev
1/2 tsp Chat Masala or Sea Salt
1 Lime/Lemon, juiced
1/4 cup Green Chutney or to taste
1/4 cup Sweet Chutney or to taste

Method:

Prepare freshly cooked chick peas or garbanzos; if using canned, drain and rinse well.

Peel the potato while still warm; chop into small cubes.

Combine all the veggies and chick peas in a large bowl.

Mix the chutneys with the lime/lemon and chat masala.

Drizzle the chutney mixture on top of veggies and mix well.

Mix in the sev just before serving. Serve immediately.

Aloo Chat should be eaten right away so the sev does not get soggy. Enjoy!!