Batata Vadas

Batata Vadas, Aloo Bonda, Aloo Vada, Aloo Chop – different names to describe one mouth watering street food snack now served all over India! Mumbaikers claim Batata Vadas as their creation and I believe them because their recipe is absolutely delicious. If you’re not familiar with this Mumbai street food snack – imagine spicy potato balls dipped in a gram flour batter which are then deep fried.

Spicy and soft, Batata Vadas provide joy and comfort with every bite. They’re utterly moreish on their own but are often served inside a fluffy white bun to transform them into a portable snack on the go called Vada Pav. To turn up the flavour volume, the inside of the bun is smothered with a fiery coriander & mint chutney, a roasted garlic & peanut crumble and any crispy bits of batter which may remain in pan once the vadas are fried. Talk about a (carby) sandwich of dreams!

Whether you relish these on their own or as Vada Pavs, I hope you enjoy them! Oh and if you have any leftover batter you can transform them into pudas. If you’d like to watch me make Batata Vadas, watch the cook-a-long from my recent Facebook live.

Batata Vadas

Servings 4

Equipment

  • Frying pan & wooden spoon
  • Mixing Bowl & whisk
  • Small wok & slotted spoon

Ingredients
  

For the Stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp oil of your choice
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 onion 40g, finely diced
  • 2 cms ginger grated
  • 1 large garlic clove grated
  • 15 fresh curry leaves completely optional. If using dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes ahead of time.
  • 600 g potatoes cooked, peeled & roughly mashed with a fork ( I will cook mine in the microwave but you can also steam or boil)
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder or juice from a lime
  • 1/2 tsp mild paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  • 2 fresh chillies finely chopped
  • small handful fresh coriander stems finely chopped

For the Batter:

  • 200 g gram flour/chickpea flour sifted into a bowl
  • water (approx 250mls)

You will also need:

  • Oil for deep frying sunflower/veg oil work well

Instructions
 

  • To make the stuffing, place your mashed potatoes on a wide tray or big plate and spread the potatoes out. Now, heat oil in a frying pan. Once hot add the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the curry leaves as well as the onions and mix.
  • Cook the onions for a minute, then add the ginger and garlic. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat until light golden in colour then add to the potatoes. (If you find the pan looks dry during the cooking process, you can add a little more oil or a splash of water to ensure nothing burns).
  • Now add the salt and remaining spices as well as the chillies and fresh coriander. Mix well using your hand. Taste for salt and chilli and tweak according to your personal taste preference. Once combined, roll into balls. You can vary the size on your personal preference! Traditionally they are a little bigger than golf balls. Once rolled, keep aside.
  • Fill a small wok or saucepan with 4-5cms of oil. Place on your cooker on a low heat setting.
  • To create the batter, add 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of chilli powder to the sifted gram flour. Gradually add the water and whisk simultaneously. Add enough water so you have a thick, smooth, lump free batter. It should easily coat the back of a spoon but should be a little thicker than pancake batter.
  • Increase the temperature of the oil in the wok to medium. To check if the oil is hot enough, add a little spoon of batter to the pan. It should float up to the surface and bubble within about 5 seconds. (If it is too cold it will stay at the bottom and if it is too hot it will come up to the surface immediately and turn brown).
  • Once you're happy with the oil temperature, place a potato ball in the batter. Spoon over the batter so the ball is completely covered in it. Now, pick up the bowl containing the batter and hold it close to the wok. Use the spoon to carefully transfer the battered vada into the oil. Repeat until you wok is full (being careful not to overcrowd).
  • After the vadas are sealed (take 10-12 seconds), use a slotted spoon to keep them moving. Cook on a medium heat for 4-6 minutes until golden and crisp to touch. They should stay yellowish – light golden in the 2-3 minutes and then eventually begin to turn completely golden in the final 2-3 minutes. Keep them moving in the oil to prevent any dark spots.
  • Once ready, use your slotted spoon to remove the vadas from the pan – draining as much oil as possible before placing them on some kitchen paper.
  • Repeat with the remaining potato balls. Serve with your favourite dipping sauces and chutneys!

Notes

The recipe for the green coriander chutney can be found here

Palak Paneer

I really enjoyed teaching how to make this dish during yesterday’s LIVE cookery class. It’s such an easy, quick “throw together recipe” which is perfect for a weeknight meal or as part of a more elaborate spread.

As it’s a dry dish, it also works incredibly well as a filling in a wrap or even in a pitta bread! Palak paneer pitta pockets anyone?

I received an amazing response from those who cooked along with me during the live class. If you missed it but want to watch, you can view it right here. Let me know how it goes and don’t forget to share a photo of your recreation on Insta, Twitter or Facebook.

Oh and FYI, I will now be doing live classes every other Friday so my next live cook-along will be on 29th May. I am working on an exciting project in the mean time and am excited to share the details very soon.

Happy cooking y’all.

Palak Paneer

Ingredients
  

To toast paneer

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 225 g paneer cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt

To make the palak paneer

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp butter/ghee optional
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic very finely chopped
  • 2cm ginger very finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato finely diced
  • 3 tbsp tomato pasata
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 300 g fresh spinach washed, dried & finely chopped/shredded
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped

For optional garlic tempering

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 clove garlic cut into paper thin slices
  • 3 good pinches dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) optional

Instructions
 

  • To toast the paneer, heat oil in a pan (ideally non stick) on a low/medium heat setting. Once hot add the paneer, cumin seeds and a pinch of salt. Allow the paneer to cook for 10-15 seconds until it is light golden in colour. Then turn over each piece and cook on the other side. (You want just a light golden skin on each piece). Remove from pan and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat up oil and butter/ghee. Once hot, add the nigella seeds, garlic & ginger. Keep mixing continuously on a medium heat until light golden in colour. (It won't take long – do not allow it to brown too much as it will burn and become bitter).
  • Now add the chopped tomato and pasata and cook for 2 minutes on a medium heat whilst mixing. Then add the salt and remaining spices.
  • Once you see the oil begin to release at the edge of the tomato paste, add the toastetoasted paneer pieces and green chilli and mix. Now begin to add the spinach a couple of handfuls at a time, mixing as you do it.
  • Once all the spinach is in the pan and has started to wilt, reduce to a low/medium heat and place a lid on top. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring halfway through. The spinach will start to release its water. Keep cooking until all water has evaporated and you have a dry dish where the palak and paneer pieces are both well combined. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.
  • For the tempering, heat oil in a small pan. Then add the garlic slivers and dried fenugreek. Keep stirring and as soon as you see the garlic take on a light golden colour, turn off the heat. Drizzle over the paneer palak and serve with your favourite Indian breads.

Tandoori Paneer Tikka

The inspiration for this week’s LIVE Spice Club “isolation cookery lesson” came from my next door neighbour. We’ve had some pretty glorious weather in the UK this week so I decided it would be a good idea to finally cut the grass. It was long overdue (I am not a big fan of gardening). When I got out in my garden I was greeted by my favourite smell of Summer….the BBQ next door.

I decided I needed to eat something grilled and whilst cutting the grass I mentally raided the fridge to figure out what I could have. My search engine of a brain decided on Paneer Tikka Kebabs. I do impress myself with my own suggestions at times.

Soft & juicy paneer, spicy peppers and onions with a crispy charred skin. Paneer Tikka is delicious. The best thing about this recipe is once you have the marinade down you can sub out the paneer to make anything you like. Prawns, chicken and veggies like mushrooms & courgettes all work really well.

I’m assuming you don’t have a tandoor at home (if you do – I’m totes jealous). If you don’t…you can easily emulate the taste of the Tandoor by cooking them on the BBQ, in a hot oven or even, as I did, on my griddle pan on the hob. If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for next weekโ€™s live class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Tandoori Paneer Tikka

Servings 4 skewers

Ingredients
  

Paneer marination:

  • 225 g paneer cut into 3 cms chunky pieces (you should be able to get about 16 pieces this size out of 1 x 225g pack. I cut 8 pieces super thick pieces which I cut into 16 thinner pieces)
  • 2 bell peppers green or red, cut into 3ms chunky pieces; you need 16 pieces
  • 1 large onion white or red, cut into 3 cms chunky pieces; you need 16 pieces
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 5 cloves of garlic grated
  • 4 cms ginger grated
  • 1 or 2 green chillies finely chopped, or use chilli powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp double concentrate tomato puree optional
  • 2 tsp gram flour or you can use plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder optional
  • 1 x black cardamom ground into a powder, optional
  • 3 good pinches sun dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi, ground into a powder optional
  • 2 tbsp oil any variety

Pickled Lime Onion Salad to accompany! For that you will need:

  • 1 red onion very thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3-4 stems fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds, optional

You will also need:

  • 1 x griddle pan or a non stick chapati/crepe pan. You can also cook these in your grill or on your bbq if you like!
  • Bamboo or Metal Skewers
  • Oil and butter/ghee for cooking

Instructions
 

How to:

  • To make the pickled red onion salad, add all of the salad ingredients to a small bowl and leave aside to pickle.
  • To prepare the Paneer Tikka, place all of the "paneer marination" ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hand, carefully mix everything together. Keep mixing until every single piece of paneer, pepper and onion is well coated in the marination. The longer you can leave this marination on, the better (overnight is ideal!).
  • If you are using a griddle pan or chapati pan – place it on the hob. Brush 3-4 tbsp oil brushed along its surface and allow to pre-heat on a low temperature. If you are cooking in the oven, pre heat at 220c and line a baking tray with foil, greased with a little oil.
  • Skewer on the paneer, pepper and onion pieces. You can use any combination you like – I aimed for 4 pieces of each ingredient per skewer!
  • Once each of your skewers are ready, increase the heat of your pan to medium/high. Once hot, place the skewers on the pan along with 1-2 tsp of ghee/butter. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side and then turn. I like to use brush them with a little oil or ghee when they are half way cooked but this is optional. The paneer tikka skewers should be completely cooked and have a nice char all over.
  • If you are cooking them in the oven, cook the skewers at 220c for approx 10-12 minutes, flipping them over half way through – I like to use brush them with a little oil or ghee at this point but this is optional! If you would like them to get nice and crispy and charred, switch to the grill setting at the end and grill a further 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and serve with the pickled lime onion salad or wrap in your favourite Indian flatbread with some yoghurt drizzled over. Enjoy!

Notes

If you are cooking the skewers in an oven and are using wooden skewers, pre soak them in water ahead of time.