Potato bondas make a wonderful snack or starter and keep for several days, so it's worth preparing, quite a lot at a time. We made a whole tinful to take skiing in Kashmir, filling our ski-jacket pockets with them at the beginning of each day so we could snack on them during ski-lift rides. As the balls are quite fragile, they also provided an extra incentive not to fall over.
The bondas are supposed to be very spicy, so they are particularly good to eat on the cold snow slopes. When I offered one to a Scandinavian skier sharing my chair lift, he found it excessively hot and, as soon as we got off, grabbed m mouthfuls of snow to relieve his burning mouth. This recipe has been considerably toned down to make a milder version—if you want to spice it up again, just add more chili.
These potato fritters are particularly good served with Green Coconut Chutney.
6 tablespoons chickpea flour (gram flour or besan)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of hing (asafetida)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
Water as needed
Oil for deep frying
2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons shredded dried coconut
5-10 green Thai or serrano chilies, finely chopped
2 pinches of hing (asafetida)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
juice of 1 lime
Handful of minced fresh cilantro
Mix all the batter ingredients together in a bowl, adding water a spoonful at a time until a thick paste forms.
Mix all the rest of the ingredients together and mold by hand into balls about the size of a golf ball.
Heat the oil for deep frying. When the oil is hot enough to cause a drop of the batter to sizzle and bubble rapidly, dip each ball of mixture in the batter and deep fry the bondas in 2-3 batches, turning regularly, for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Drain on paper towels and serve hot or cold.
For convenience, the balls may instead be flattened out a bit and panfried, turning once.
World Food Café
by Chris & Carolyn Caldicott
Soma Books, 2001
$28.00, 192 pages
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2002
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