Batata Vada Recipe
This recipe is done in 2 steps – first the spicy potato stir fry is made, shaped into balls and then they are battered & fried. You can always make the potatoes the day before as a timesaver.
BATATA VADAS (SPICY POTATO FRITTERS)
2 large potatoes (Russets or Idaho potatoes work well)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1½” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
6-8 fresh curry leaves
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup green peas (frozen is fine)
juice of ½ lemon
2+ tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly minced cilantro leaves
To make the batter:
1 cup besan (Bengal gram or chickpea flour)
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp red chili powder (to taste)
1 tbsp HOT oil
water as needed
enough oil for frying
In a large pot of boiling salted water, boil the potatoes until fork tender. When the potatoes have slightly cooled, peel & very coarsely/roughly mash them – in this particular recipe, some texture is a good thing! Set aside until needed.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. When the splattering slows, add the cumin seeds along with the green chilies & curry leaves. Stir-fry for just a minute or so and then add the onions & ginger. Let cook until they are golden brown and then, add the spices (turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper). If you need a little more oil, add it as needed. Let the spices cook for a few more minutes and then add the potatoes. Now toss the potatoes with the spices so that they are all evenly coated. Now add the green peas and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined. Finish with the lemon juice. This needs to be a dry/non-curry dish, so do not add any additional water. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients, reduce the heat to medium low and let cook for another 4-5 minutes. Finish the dish by adding freshly minced cilantro leaves. Let the potatoes cool and then form small ping pong size balls. Set aside until needed.
In a deep skillet (cast iron works well) or wok, heat the oil on medium high heat. There should be enough oil for deep frying, this will obviously depend on the size of the vessel.
To make the batter:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the besan with the spices (salt, turmeric, ground cumin powder and red chili powder). Next add the rice flour and milk. Stir well to combine and add the water very slowly. Mix to form a fairly smooth but thick batter. Now add 1 tbsp of the HOT oil to the batter and mix it in. This is the key to crispy and crunchy batata vadas.
To make the batata vadas:
Take the potato balls & dip them completely into the batter. Remove any excess batter and very carefully lower the battered potato balls into the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium, also be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry on medium low, turning the batata vadas until they are golden on all sides and crispy. Remove and drain well. Serve with your favorite chutney or sauce.
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