Printable version here.
Y eah, we’re going to Anita’s,
Yeah, we’re goin to have a party……….
Before I get on to talking about the party, I just wanted to mention the question I had asked in the previous post.
Yes, it was a dried out coconut, also called copra, without the shell. I knew most of you would recognize it. I had tried to crack a coconut and the shell split to reveal a whole coconut! This usually happen when the coconut has been kept for a long time and the water inside it dries out. Copra is what coconut oil is extracted from. Copra is also used in various Indian dishes and also to make a very tasty dry chutney powder, which I shall post at a later date.
So, Anita is having an “Aloo Bonda” Party to commemorate the anniversary of A Mad Tea Party. When she issued the invite at her blog, I was suddenly reminded that it had been ages since I had made this perennial Indian favourite at home. And what better time than right now, when a hot deep fried snack is perfect in the monsoons.
An Aloo (meaning potato in Hindi) Bonda is a spicy mashed potato ball which is dipped in a chickpea flour batter and deep fried. This is a snack that has crossed state and language boundaries across India and can be found everywhere, masquerading in one form or the other. One such version is the famous “vada pav” where the aloo bonda is placed inside a small bun, a sort of local burger if you will.
Frankly, I’m not sure how a party could to survive on a surfeit of batter fried mashed potatoes, no matter how differently they’re dressed. But going by the fact that her last year’s party was a huge success, this one is sure to be loads of fun, given the enthusiasm of the host and many of the invitees. So I’m going over there with these delicious round little balls of spiced mashed potatoes, coated in batter and deep fried to a crisp golden brown.
For the mashed potatoes:
2 cups mashed potatoes
¾ cup fenugreek leaves (methi), cleaned and chopped
2 big onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 ½ tsp black gram (urad) dal
¼ tsp asafetida
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp cumin powder
¾ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
For the batter:
1 cup chickpea (besan) flour
½ cup rice flour
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp baking powder
salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Mix all the ingredients for the batter with enough water to make a batter thick enough to coat the mashed potato balls for deep frying. Keep aside.
Add the chopped coriander, salt, turmeric, cumin, chilli and garam masala powders to the mashed potatoes and knead so that everything is well mixed.
Heat the 2 tsp oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, mix once and add the asafetida and immediately add the chopped onions and the ginger-garlic paste. Sauté till the onions are soft. Now add the fenugreek leaves and sauté till they wilt. Add the mashed potato mixture and mix till everything is well blended.
Take off the heat and allow to cool. Divide into 12 portions and roll each into a ball.
Heat the oil for deep frying. When the oil is almost at smoking point, dip each mashed potato ball into the chickpea batter and deep fry till golden brown and crisp. Drain the “bondas” on paper towels and serve warm with date- tamarind chutney and coriander-mint chutney, or coconut chutney or even tomato ketchup. I like them best without any accompaniment, just plain crisp bondas with hot masala chai preferably watching the rain.
For the Coriander-Mint Chutney:
A big bunch of coriander leaves
A small bunch of mint leaves
The juice of a lemon
2 to 3 green chillies
A pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Grind all these together with very little water to a fine paste. This chutney should be prepared fresh and doesn’t really keep in the fridge. It keeps in the freezer for a week. Or you can mix leftover chutney to make sandwiches or add it to some butter to make a lovely herb butter.
If you have any aloo bondas left over after everyone has had a go (this does occasionally happen), then you can convert them into another version of “vada pav” or grilled bonda sandwiches. I did. I refrigerated the bondas and made the sandwiches the next day.
For one sandwich, spread some coriander-mint chutney on one side of two slices of bread. Place the aloo bonda between them and grill in your sandwich maker/ press till lightly browned. The sandwiches are ready and make a great snack.
RC at Red Chillies is hosting this month’s Herb Mania, where Fenugreek is the chosen herb. As these bondas will fit in with that theme, they’re heading there as well.