This recipe for Bengali Potato Fritters is as essential and as basic as it gets. These potato fries are seriously good!
Hence we also call them Seriously Good Potato Fries.
They are a classic Bengali snack and can be done with any vegetable of your choice the popular favorites being eggplant, pumpkin and potatoes. This particular variation comes to me from my father’s neighbor. My grand mother (thakuma) lived away from the main city and visiting her was usually a planned affair that extended over a day. Their old neighborhood still retained some vestiges of the simplicity of village life. When we visited various people dropped by to chat or just say hello. Without any invitation of warning.
One of the places we always stopped by was Loti-di’s home. She was a distant relative who lived adjacent to my grandmother. Widowed at an early age, she had no children and enjoyed living vicariously through my grandmother’s brood. Despite her spartan pantry, these treats were always available on short notice. She did not peel the potatoes and the skin in these fritters add an amazing layer of complexity. Spiked with bits of green chilies, she often offered these with puffed rice or muri and small cups of tea. The ratio of vegetable to batter is important, it should have a thin crisp outer coating enveloping soft well done veggies.
These fritters tend to be huge staples when the rain clouds are dark and puffy and the scent of rain is in the air, the Indian monsoon is a season of palate tingling indulgence for crisp and savory fare, such as these crispy treats. In fact, snowy days incite the same kind of feelings, and I long for these crisp, addictive treats!
I like both eggplant and potato varieties, but as with everything else I eat, I tend to be partial to potatoes. Somewhere a few weeks back, the husband was running fever and needed to get to the immediate care facility. Actually, this was about a week before, the cat and his Christmas day visit to the kitty emergency center. Well, the problem with our house like most houses is that one of the grown ups are sick. It is not quite so easy for the other partner in crime to leave the house and take the sick grown up to the doctor. Taking the “thus far” well little ones to such a place is just asking for trouble.
Anyhow, one of the husband’s friends obliged and took him over, so to thank him for spending the Sunday helping us out I made these addictive crispy potato fries. Interestingly, enough even in the midst of actually transcribing the recipe I ended up with a bout of the flu. These fritters tends to be our go to comfort food, and the best part of these fries is that I do not even peel the potatoes. They are always a great hit with the kids!
Once you try them, you will know what I mean. These are great in lieu of french fries, and if you eat them the way we do, you will drizzle some tomato ketchup for dunking and we will be in business.
A comforting and addictive rendition of fried potatoes with crisp chickpea batter coating and onions and spices to seal the fun.
- 3/4 cup of chickpea flour, sifted
- 2 tablespoon rice flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds or cumin seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of red cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy, you can up this to 1 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
- 2 green chilies, minced
- 3/4 cup of lukewarm water
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- Canola or grape seed oil for frying (about 1 cup)
- 4 medium sized potatoes, thinly sliced (Use organic potatoes, scrub the skins and leave them on)
- Place the chickpea flour and rice flour in a mixing bowl and add in the salt, nigella or cumin seeds, turmeric, red cayenne pepper and stir well.
- Add in the lukewarm water and mix well enough to make a smooth batter, thick enough to coat the fries but not too thick.
- Stir in the red onion, chopped cilantro and green chilies mix well.
- Place the canola oil in a heavy bottom skillet, heat until a dropped bit of the batter, sizzles, dances and crisps up easily.
- Dip the potato pieces into the batter to coat uniformly and place in the cooking oil. Add enough to fill the pan leaving enough room to allow the fries to be turned without crowding the skillet. Cook the fries on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp and nicely golden. Turn and cook on the other side. These need to cooked in batches and with care to allow the batter to get crisp.
- Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels before serving.