Spiced Potato Patties (Aloo Tikki) are a crisp and tender Indian street food snack that you can recreate in your kitchen.
These little pan-fried potato fritters are a popular street food in Northern India and in surrounding countries. The main ingredient is cooked and mashed potato. I’ve seen them made plain with just potatoes and some spices but other times I’ve seen these aloo tikki with other veggies or chopped greens mixed into the mashed potatoes.
Similarly I’ve read that the spices used vary from region to region, with turmeric favored in some areas and mustard seeds in other areas, for example. It’s very versatile, so use this recipe as a guide and adapt it with the spices you have on hand or the ones you like most. For example, I use ajowan seeds which have a unique herbal taste, but I know that they are rather difficult to find unless you have an Indian market nearby. So follow my substitution or just replace with another spice or even a little bit of a spice blend like garam masala.
You’ll need a binding agent to keep the little patties together or else they may fall apart when pan-frying. I’ve used semolina flour here but regular all purpose flour also works fine. You can also use corn flour or chick pea flour; they are both traditional and make these patties gluten-free if you need them to be.
Whatever you use, be sure to dust the outside of each patty with more flour right before frying to give it a crisper coating. An even better choice would be to use bread crumbs as a coating (I didn’t have any when I made mine.) for an extra crispy coating, or go with my Indian coworker’s method of using crushed cornflakes!
- 2 lbs (just under 1 kg) of potatoes, around 4-5 medium-sized potatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 large strips of lemon zest
- 1 small onion, finely diced (or 1 large shallot or 3 scallions)
- 1 red or green chile, finely chopped (seeds and ribs removed for milder patties)
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1¾ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ¾ teaspoon ajowan seeds (or substitute ½ teaspoon oregano plus ¼ teaspoon ground fennel)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup green peas
- 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 5 Tablespoons semolina flour (or regular flour or corn flour or chick pea flour)
- bread crumbs for coating
- neutral oil for pan-frying (I used sunflower)
- 1½ cups loosely-packed cilantro
- 5-6 sprigs mint, leaves removed
- 2 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon or lime zest
- ¼ cup water
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- Wash potatoes and cut each one in half, leaving the skins on. Put into a large pot with the bay leaf and strips of lemon zest. Fill the pot with water until the potatoes are covered and bring to a boil on high heat. When boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Use a small knife to stab the center of the potatoes--if there isn't any resistance, they are done. This takes around 20-25 minutes of simmering. Remove bay leaf and lemon zest strips, drain, and set aside.
- In a nonstick sauté pan, fry the onions and chiles with a splash of oil for around 2 minutes. Add the ginger, cumin, coriander, ajowan, turmeric, and black pepper and fry for 30 seconds and remove from heat and set aside.
- Return to the potatoes and peel the skins off them and mash with a large fork or, even better, a potato masher. Add the onion, chiles, and spices mixture to the potatoes along with the green peas, cilantro, salt, and lemon juice and combine everything well. Now add the flour and incorporate thoroughly. Using your hands, form walnut-sized balls of the mixture into small patties. Coat each patty with bread crumbs and set aside for frying. I highly recommend the bread crumbs for crispiness but if you don't have any, coat the patties with whatever flour you used to bind the mixture.
- Rinse off and dry that same sauté pan you used for the onions and heat it up over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and pan-fry the potato patties. Don't crowd the pan too much. If using a 8 or 9 inch pan, only make around 6-7 patties at a time. Once they are browned on the first side, flip and brown the other side. Remove onto a paper towel to drain. Add more oil to the pan (in 2 Tablespoon increments) and repeat until all the patties are browned and crisp. Serve as soon as possible as they are best when hot. Serve with the Cilantro Mint Chutney or just a sprinkling of salt and a squeeze of lemon.
- *For the quick Cilantro Mint Chutney, throw all the ingredients into the blender or food processor and blend. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
-Coat the patties before frying with bread crumbs. (Or crushed cornflakes for gluten-free)
-Some nice additions/substitutions would be: edamame beans for the peas, a pinch of garam masala or chaat masala, ¾ cup of shredded spinach or other greens, a pinch of nigella seeds, or some chopped curry leaves
-If you don't have mint for the chutney, use basil. It makes a delicious combo with the cilantro.