Our quest to explore India’s exciting array of street food takes us to the south in search of a deep fried Pakora known as Aloo Bonda. This delicious fritter originated in South India and various regional variations can be found across Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. With the passage of time it also spread to other parts of India – for instance, in Maharashtra it is called Batata Vada.
Here are the ingredients that you will require for making this street food item at home.
Potatoes: 3, medium sized
Mustard Oil: 200 millilitres
Mustard Seed (Rai): 1 teaspoon
Black Lentils (Urad Dal): 1 teaspoon
Green Chillies: 2
Ginger (Adrak), grated: Half a teaspoon
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Just a pinch
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: Just a pinch
Coriander (Dhania) Powder: Just a pinch
Fennel (Saunf) Seeds: 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala: Just a pinch
Curry Leaves: 3
Gram Flour (Besan): 50 grams
Rice Flour: 3 tablespoons
Salt: to taste
The ingredients mentioned above are for serving two persons with three pieces of Aloo Bonda each. Adjust the ingredients proportionately to suit the number of servings you require.
Peel, wash and chop the onion.
Finely chop the green chillies.
Grind the fennel seeds.
Coarsely chop the curry leaves.
Wash and peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Boil the potato pieces till they are done – but make sure they don’t become too soft. Use a fork to check whether the potatoes are done. Keep aside.
Let’s start by preparing the potato filling for the Bonda.
Heat two tablespoons of Mustard Oil in a pan on a Low flame. When the oil becomes hot add the black lentils, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Fry till the mustard and cumin seeds splutter, and the black lentils turn golden yellow in colour.
Next, add the grated ginger and sauté for around half a minute. Then add the chopped onion, curry leaves, green chillies and salt. Continue frying.
When the onion pieces turn golden brown in colour, add the turmeric, garam masala, coriander and fennel.
Now add the boiled potatoes. Use a spatula or a spoon to mash the potato pieces and continue frying, stirring the mixture well to mix the contents of the pan.
Turn the flame off and let the potato mixture cool. Once it has cooled, use your hands to shape the mixture into six palm-sized balls. Keep aside.
Next, let’s make the batter for the Aloo Bonda.
In a mixing bowl, add the gram flour, rice flour and salt. Add enough water to make a batter of medium thickness. Mix well – then beat the batter till it becomes smooth.
Heat the remaining Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame till the oil reaches its smoking point. When the oil emits whiffs of white smoke reduce the heat to Medium.
Place each ball of potato mixture in the batter, ensuring that it gets evenly coated. When all six potato balls are coated in batter, deep-fry them till they take on a golden brown colour.
Place the fried balls on paper towels to drain off the excess oil. However, since we are using cold-pressed Mustard Oil in this recipe, such draining is not absolutely necessary. Mustard Oil is not only a healthy cooking medium, it is also proven to be absorbed in very small amounts in food while cooking or frying.
Your traditional South Indian Aloo Bonda is now ready – serve it hot with any chutney of your choice. Down south many people also have it with steaming cups of hot tea (or Masala Chai if you want an authentic experience).
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