Indian Spiced Potato Cakes

What is it about snacks, street food, starters, tiffin that makes them so moreish? Probably that an awful lot of them are fried and deep fried at that!


So I try to be good, and don’t make this kind of food VERY often, or I try to find a way of not deep-frying them, maybe baking. But every now and then the thought of a spicy snack wins through.

I’ve meant to make these for a while, and have finally got round to it. The Kitchen Garden reminded me of fried mashed potatoes the other day, she had them for breakfast. And so she should getting up on the farmy at the crack of dawn, tending to her flock and taking wonderous photos for us.

And I’ve started to think about potatoes as I need to get my order in for this year’s seed potatoes. I’m behind on this job, normally I’ve ordered them in December, take delivery in January and start chitting in February. But life takes different turns and we’re in the Alps, so potatoes will have to wait for a while longer.

These potato cakes have the spices and flavours so redolent of South India, with mustard seeds, coriander, and curry leaves. They are a great starter, bite sized finger food, perfect alongside some mango chutney or a maybe a garlic or lime pickle. But I’ve decided to play around with them and make them as part of a main course served with wilted spinach and a poached egg on top. Oh, and if you want to read a good description of wilting spinach pop over to Misk, she was doing this and wondering how best to wilt spinach. And I’ve just remembered a trick I sometimes use, I pop them in the microwave. I think it’s simpler.

First of all I’ll write the recipe up as it is and then show you my variations. I’ve based these on a Das Sreedharan recipe, I chose this one (I normally just make them, without paying any attention to how much of this or that I’ve added, or how long x needs cooking for) as it is authentic, and besides I like Das’ cooking. The one thing I did notice, which I really liked was that the green chillies are added at the end, in fact they are barely cooked. which gives the potato cakes a nice rawish chilli hit. If you don’t like too much heat, de-seed the chillies.

Aloo Bonda or Indian Spiced Potato Cakes

~ Das Sreedharan from Easy Everyday Indian

Serves 4

  • 500g of floury potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 20 curry leaves, I like to roughly chop them
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, peeled  and grated or finely chopped
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 125g chick pea flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Method ~

  • Cook the potatoes in boiling water for approx. 15 minutes until they are tender, drain and mash them (don’t add any milk or butter)  then set aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok, when hot add the mustard seeds, when they start to po[p add the curry leaves, ginger and onions and cook until the onion is softened, approx. 5 minutes.
  • Add the chillies and turmeric stir in and cook for a few minutes.
  • Now add the mashed potatoes and coriander and mix them in well with the rest of the ingredients. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • In a large bowl, put the chick pea flour, a pinch of salt, a pinch of turmeric powder and gradually add  250ml of water. I tend to use a little less as I like the batter thick. Whisk the flour and water together until the batter is smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Divide the potato mixture into small balls, Das recommends golf ball size.
  • Heat the oil for frying in a large pan, I also use the Wok for this. When hot dip a potato ball in the batter and then straight into the oil. Cook them in small batches. If deep-frying this takes about 3-4 minutes, but I tend to use less oil and so it takes longer more like 6-8 minutes. They should be a golden colour on the outside, remove them from the oil and drain on some kitchen paper.
  • Serve them with a chutney or pickle of your choice.

Now for the variations ~

You can play with the spices, many versions have a tablespoon of Urid Dal in the mixture (it adds crunch and protein), but I can’t get them in France. I sometimes add a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Don’t have chick pea flour? I’ve made them without the batter and I just fry or bake them as they are, you will need to keep turning them over, very gently, if you don’t use the batter.

For our meal tonight the mixture was divided into 4, then the potato mix was rounded into balls and then flattened to make patties. They were shallow fried until they were a golden brown colour. I still cook them in batches and when cooked put them on a baking sheet in a low oven to keep warm. When ready to serve put the potato cakes on a plate, heap some wilted spinach on top and then a poached (or if extra naughty a fried) egg.

And the photos? I have no idea what connection there could be with kids ski helmets and aloo bonda, but they are both nice and colourful!

Right, back to that seed potato order…..

EDITED to add some photos. I’m sorry but they are not great photos, but hopefully they will give you an idea of what they look like. I should have opened one up and photographed it, but I rushed it and forgot. Basically I ate them 🙂


  • Ooh they sound wonderful and deep fried or shallow fried they would be a big hit here. Especially with a poached egg from our chickies on top 🙂

  • The recipe I bought chick-pea flour for was deep-fried, potato-stuffed chilies, coated with chick-pea batter. I caught the stove on fire twice and decided it was safer to eat the dish in restaurants. Back in the day we used to have a proper deep-fryer with a thermometer, but we gave it up so as not to eat fried food. It made french fries and yeast doughnuts in its heyday.

    • I’ve seen similar recipes for stuffed chillies, I’ve never tried making them at home, and I’m not sure I will now I’ve read about your misadventures!

    • 🙂 I hope it works. Our micorwave sits in the corner of the kitchen gathering dust, but I kept reading about how people cooked their veggies in them, and how quick, tasty and healthy they were. So I’ve been giving it a go, and so far it’s ok, and does seem to save faffing with steamers and the like.

      • The microwave is my very great friend, mostly for defrosting on the fly but also reheating a lot of dishes that don’t need the oven to be turned on to crisp them up.

        • I do love the microwave for greens. Since my husband doesn’t like cooked greens of any sort, the batches I make are small enough to do in a bowl with a little plate for a lid, so nothing’s simpler than to pop that in the mw (best, with a large pat of butter on the leaves for good measure)!

    • I’ve never cooked with coconut flour, I’m guessing that it is fairly light and fine? I’m wondering if corn flour would work, but I haven’t tried that either (for this dish). Chick pea flour is fairly thick and course, and yellow in colour. Hope this helps…..

  • this is the kind of thing my daughter would love so I emailed it to her! (this was the first time I’ve ventured behind the “more” button….I was surprised to see an “email” function there!)

  • Thanks for the recipe. I smiled when I came to the end of the post as I was wondering as I was reading what the connection was with the ski helmets . You are so right they are both nice and colourful.

  • I don’t fry often, though I do make samosas from scratch including the pastry about once ever year or 2 so I fry those as, well as onion bhajis or veggie pakoras to make the use of all that oil worthwhile, but these do sound tasty. I wish there were some pictures though. 😦

    • Oh you make smaosas from scratch! I’m impressed, I generally cheat and use filo pastry, that way I can bake them. You can buy the packets of samosa pastry in asian shops. But I bet yours taste a treat 🙂
      And sorry about the photos, I took a few and really didn’t like them. I’ll see if I can find one that I’m not totally ashamed about!

      • I once made the samosas with egg roll wrappers. The mother ate them but was NOT pleased as she found the wrappers hard and crunchy compared to the ones I made. The recipe is simple but time consuming to roll out all those round circles, cut them in half … fill etc. It would be nice if I had a second pair of hands to help with the assembly but I never have volunteers for that though the 5 1/2 doz appetizer sized samosas I make at a time are devoured quickly. I usually put 3 dozen in freezer bags to hide them from the ravening hordes. 🙂

        I was encouraged to show pictures with some of the recipes I talked about on my LJ (no blog and no time and ambition to start one) so this Christmas I went out and got an inexpensive digital camera. My pictures are amateurish at best and I have no idea how to prevent the flash fnxn from overexposing my close-ups. Your pictures are amazing. But then they are on all the blogs I follow. So much time, effort and expertise seems to be required.

        In any case, I think the potato cakes look delicious and though I was able to picture what they look like, it was still nice to see them along with the recipe. We have a great local Indian grocery store that sells all kinds of sweets by the pound (gulab jamuns, jalebis, rasgullah, burfis, ladoo), samosas in several sizes and fillings, as well as bhajis and pakoras occasionally.

        • That’s a great idea about freezing a batch, I’ll do that next time I make some, so thanks for the tip 🙂

          I’ve come to realise food photography is tricky – what with the light, trying to make something look appealing. Some of my favourite blogs obviously spend a lot of time setting the scene, with a lovely napkin or wine glass in the shot. I have to confess I’m a bit lazy or too rushed when it comes to that kind of detail. I don’t know if you read it, but Celi over at the Kitchen Gardens did a post about photography, its a great article with lot sof tips about light, and framing your shot. she says anyone can take a great photo, regardless of what camera she is using. I think she is right. and the beauty of digital is that you can take as many as you like and you don’t have to worry about processing costs!
          I found the link –

          and lucky you having a good Indian grocery nearby, it’s one of the things I’ve missed since moving from London to the coast. Things are slowly changing for th epositive though.

          • RE: Photography … I try to take pictures of the process as well which really slows things down. And, by the time the dish is done, I just want to sit down and not go and find nice dishes/place setting to set it off. It’s hard to take pictures with poor light as well. My kitchen table is about the best place I’ve got.

            Take a look at some of my ‘masterpieces’ if you get a chance. 🙂

            The ‘recipe’ tag should get to most of them. The truffles (matcha and white chocolate, and rum and raisin dark chocolate) ones were take by my nephew before I got my camera but I did set up the dishes.

  • I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t find these delicious! I think I could live on good potato recipes…I, too, try to be “good” and not overdo it, but these are “must haves” now that I’ve read the ingredients! Yum! Debra

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