This Mumbai street-food snack was inspired by a recipe from cookbook author and teacher Raghavan Iyer. Mashed potatoes are seasoned with cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger, and chile; balls of the aromatic mash are then coated in a turmeric-accented chickpea-flour batter and deep-fried until crisp and golden. This recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue with Indrani Sen's story The School of Small Bites.
- 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- 3 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- ½ tsp. black mustard seeds
- 4 fresh or frozen curry leaves, minced
- 1 (1½") piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 small green Thai chile or ½ serrano, minced
- ½ small yellow onion, minced
- 2 tbsp. minced cilantro
- 1 tsp. red chile powder, such as cayenne
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- ¼ cups rice flour
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- Tamarind and coconut-cilantro chutneys, for serving (optional)
Boil potatoes in a 6-qt. saucepan of water until tender, 12–14 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl; using a potato masher, coarsely mash potatoes. Add 3 tbsp. oil to pan; heat over medium-high. Cook cumin seeds, ½ tsp. turmeric, and the mustard seeds until fragrant and seeds begin to pop, 1–2 minutes. Add curry leaves, ginger, chile and onion; cook until golden, 4–6 minutes. Let cool slightly and add to bowl with potatoes. Add cilantro, ½ tsp. chile powder, and salt; using hands, mix until smooth. Divide mixture into thirty-two ½-oz. balls.
Heat 2" oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Whisk remaining turmeric and chile powder, the chickpea and rice flours, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and ½ cup water in a bowl until a smooth batter forms. Working in batches, dip potato balls in batter; fry, turning as needed, until golden and crisp, 1–2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer aloo bonda to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Serve with coconut-cilantro and tamarind chutneys if you like.