Savory Indian Potato Cakes

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Savory Indian Potato Cakes
Indian savory appetizers are always a delight, and while I ordinarily don't fry foods in much oil, sometimes I will make the exception when I'm making Indian savories at home for the extra crispiness that cannot quite be matched with oven-baked methods … like with these golden Indian potato cakes that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside because they're made with mashed potatoes.

This recipe was inspired by a craving for potato pancakes that — with my penchant for Indian food — turned into an idea for Indian potato cakes instead. The mashed potatoes are combined with cilantro, green peas, chilies, lime juice, and Indian seasonings for a potato cake that's good enough to eat on its own without any sauce or chutney, although you can certainly add your favorite Indian condiment if you please — I think that they would go very well with a cilantro chutney, for example. The secret of the crispy exterior is not just the oil frying but coating the cakes in a batter made with chickpea flour, an ingredient that I consider to be an essential pantry item for any cook for its versatility.

Savory Indian Potato CakesSavory Indian Potato Cakes
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on January 25, 2021

Crispy golden-fried potato cakes with Indian seasonings

Preparation: 30 minutes + 1 hour chill time
Cooking time: 40 to 45 minutes

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  • 2 lbs (900 g) red potatoes (4 medium potatoes), peeled
  • 2/3 cup green peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 to 2 red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chat masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • sunflower, safflower or peanut oil for frying
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • In a medium-large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Mash the potatoes well with a potato masher.

  • Stir in the peas, cilantro, chilies, turmeric, garam masala, chat masala, asafetida, lime juice, and salt. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for a least 1 hour.

  • In the meantime, make the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, rice flour, turmeric, and salt. Whisk in 2/3 cup of the reserved potato cooking water until you have fairly thick batter, adding more of the liquid as needed, taking care to avoid lumps.

  • Divide the potato mixture into 15 equal portions and form into small discs, 1-1/2 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper.

  • In a large non-stick skillet or medium saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat. The oil is hot enough when a few sprinkles of water sizzle upon contact. Sccop a few tablespoons of the hot oil into the batter, and whisk to combine. Using a slotted spoon, gently drop a potato cake into the batter, coating throughly, and then transfer to the skillet or saucepan. Repeat with a few more of the potato cakes. Fry the patties until golden brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them part way through the cooking time. Transfer to a large plate lined with paper towel, and repeat with the remaining potato cakes adn batter, adjusting the heat on the stove as necessary.

  • Serve hot with a garnish or chutney of your choice or just as is. The potato cakes can also be reheated in foil in a preheated 200°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 15 potato cakes
Savory Indian Potato Patties
Other Indian savories to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Potato Patties Stuffed with Spiced Green Peas (Aloo Matar Tikki)
Vegetarian Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Chutney
Savory Chana Dal Fritters with Tomatoes and Spices
Baked Mini Vegetable Chickpea Samosas

Audio Accompaniment: Robert Fripp - Music For Quiet Moments 36 - Drifting Firmly (Chattanooga 27 Feb 2006)

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