Potato pancakes (known as a “latkes” in many European countries) are shallow fried pancakes made with grated or shredded potatoes. My favorite thing about potato pancakes has to be their amazing crunch & texture.
My version of this simple dish adds traditional Indian spices and aromatics. Now, I have added an egg to my recipe but you can most certainly omit it for a purely vegetarian dish. You can serve my delicious potato pancakes for breakfast, brunch, lunch or as a tea time snack. I often serve them with some fresh yogurt, sour cream or a koshimbir (yogurt based salad). You could also serve them with your favorite sauces & chutneys.
A very quick & easy shortcut for this recipe is to use ready made, store-bought shredded potatoes. It’s a big time saver if you are pressed for time & these days, who isn’t? You could also make these using sweet potatoes if you like or a combination of both potatoes & sweet potatoes.
POTATO PANCAKES, Indian style!
1 lb of potatoes (Yukon Golds or Russets work well), peeled & rinsed
1 medium onion, finely diced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
3-4 small green Thai chilies, finely minced (to taste)
½ cup cilantro leaves, finely minced
¼ cup coarsely ground toasted unsalted peanuts
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp chaat masala (or you can use garam masala)
salt & pepper, to taste
1½ tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
1 large egg, beaten
enough oil for frying (peanut, vegetable or canola)
First, finely shred the potatoes using a hand grater or food processor. Quickly transfer the shredded potatoes to a large mixing bowl filled with cold water and let sit for 30 minutes. Stir the potatoes and water every so often. This will remove any excess starch from the potatoes, otherwise your potato pancakes will not crisp up properly.
Then drain the water from the shredded potatoes & rinse them well. Now using a clean tea towel, wring out the shredded potatoes thereby removing any excess liquid. Dry out the large mixing bowl with a clean kitchen towel and add the shredded potatoes back into the mixing bowl. Next, add in the onions along with the ginger, green chilies, cilantro leaves, peanuts & spices (cumin seeds, smoked Spanish paprika, ground cumin powder, chaat masala, salt & pepper). Now add in the all purpose flour & beaten egg. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients together.
While you are making the potato pancakes, heat a large deep pan with enough oil for shallow frying.
Now using your hands, gently form flattened patties about 2-3” in size. Then gently fry them until golden brown on crispy on all sides. You may need to do this in batches. Drain well on absorbent paper towels & serve with your favorite sauces & chutneys.
Feel free to add some fresh diced paneer pieces to the potato pancakes, just add them in along with the other ingredients. You could also add some grated carrots or grated zucchini as well.