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Fried Foods – Monica's Spice Diary – Indian Food Blog

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

Keralan Fried Chicken (or Cauliflower) #KFC

They say you shouldn’t mess with a classic and don’t get me wrong, the colonel’s recipe is good – I regularly crave it. But, in my very humble opinion..injecting the classic with some spice and heat takes it to another level! My Mum introduced me to the idea of an “Indian-ified” KFC. When my brother and I were kids, she used to make it for us on birthdays or special occasions.

I originally created my own version for a web series I did with Tastemade a little while back (video below!) a couple of years ago. It has wonderful Keralan/South Indian flavours which add depth, aroma & heat. The chicken is first marinated in coconut milk, curry leaves, ginger, chilli n garlic. Then coated in coconut & plain flour and deep fried until golden and crisp. It also works incredibly well with cauliflower if you want to make a veggy/vegan version!

I hope you like this recipe! Let me know your thoughts on on InstaTwitter or Facebook.

Oh and don’t forget to join me next Friday on 29th May for my next live cook-along class. Keep posted to my social media over the next few days to see what we will be making.

Happy cooking y’all x

Keralan Fried Chicken (KFC)

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken thighs skinless. Use cauliflower florets for a veggy/vegan version.
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ” fresh ginger root
  • 2 birds eye green chillies
  • 4 stems fresh coriander washed
  • 2 stems curry leaves, de-stemmed & washed optional
  • 1 ½ – 2tsp salt according to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • sunflower/vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 g coconut flour If you don’t have this, just use 200g plain flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp onion powder optional
  • 6 stems curry leaves washed, dried and de-stemmed for garnishing (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a blender, blitz coconut milk, garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander and curry leaves and empty into a bowl. Add the chicken along with salt, garam masala, coriander powder, paprika and turmeric. Cover & refrigerate for as long as possible (24 hours is best) but at least a couple of hours.
  • Place the plain flour, coconut flour, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and onion powder in a shallow bowl and combine.
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before cooking. Place enough oil in a pan so it is about 4-5" deep and place on a low/medium heat. I like to use a small-medium sized wok.
  • Now shake off any excess coconut milk marinade from the chicken and dredge each piece in the flour and evenly coat Then place the chicken piece back in the marinade, shake off any excess and dredge in the flour once again. (I like to use one hand for placing the chicken in the marinade and the other hand for placing the chicken in the flour as it is less messy this way!).
  • Very carefully place into a medium pan of oil at 180ºC. Repeat with the next piece. Cook 2 pieces at a time to keep the temperature from falling.
  • Cook for 8-9 minutes. Then use a pair of tongues to carefully turn each chicken piece once golden. Cook until golden brown on the other side. The chicken should be cooked and white in colour internally. You can also use a thermometer probe to check the internal temperature is 75 ºC.
  • Remove chicken pieces from oil using a slotted spoon and then place on a wire tray/rack to drain.
  • Now, place the curry leaves into the same hot oil. They may splatter slightly so be careful. Deep fry for 5-10 seconds. Remove and drain using a slotted spoon and then place on kitchen paper. Allow them to cool slightly until crisp, then crush the curry leaves with your hands and sprinkle over fried chicken.
  • Serve with your KFC with your favourite dipping sauce/Indian chutney!

Punjabi Samosas

Presenting my Punjabi samosas! I didn’t intentionally make these samosas to be part of the #spiceclubstaples recipe collection but upon reflection I think they deserve a place here.

The pastry is made from plain flour, oil, salt & water = store cupboard classic. Stuffing wise, the classic is spiced potatoes & peas, but actually, you can technically stuff them with whatever you like. Sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, paneer – feel free to mix together what you have in your fridge to create your own bespoke samosa. I’ve made chocolate and marshmallow samosas in the past so you have permission to go crazy.

There is a step by step tutorial on my Instagram Highlights which may help with giving you a better idea on things like dough texture etc. Making samosas are best shown how to be made in person but I have tried my best to jot it all down for you in this recipe!

Little tip – once the samosas have been filled and sealed, you can actually freeze the samosas. Then, when you’re craving a fresh samosa in the future, you can simply remove from freezer, defrost and then fry until golden! Also – if you have any leftover pastry, you can cut them into rounds using a cookie cutter and then fry until light golden and crisp – these are Indian savoury tea biscuits called Papdi – we eat these alongside a hot cup of chai!

Disclaimer – samosas are a labour of love to make, but they’re ABSOLUTELY worth the effort. I hope you enjoy making (and eating) them!

Punjabi Samosas

Servings 8 samosas

Ingredients
  

To make the dough:

  • 1 cup plain flour approx. 130g
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup approx water using same vessel that was used to measure flour

To make the stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated (optional)
  • 8 tbsp peas (frozen peas work well)
  • 4 large cooked potatoes (approx 500g in total) I cook mine in the microwave but you can also boil.
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp amchur/mango powder If you can’t source this, you can add a squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • Large handful fresh coriander finely chopped

You will also need:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour mixed together with 4 tbsp water to create a thick, smooth paste (this will be our pastry glue)
  • oilf or deep frying

Instructions
 

To make the dough:

  • To a bowl, add the plain flour, carom seeds, salt and oil. Spend a couple of minutes rubbing the oil into the flour. It should create a bread crumb type of consistency. Once the oil has completely mixed in, gradually add the water little by little. Mix continuously – you are looking to create a tight dough that is quite firm. (Note, you may need to adjust the amount of water slightly depending on your brand of flour).

  • Cover dough with damp cloth or cling film and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

To make the stuffing:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. Mix. Then add the crushed coriander seeds, ginger and peas and cook for 1 minute on medium heat. When the ginger turns light golden, turn off heat and keep aside.
  • Using your hands, peel the potatoes. Then roughly mash the potatoes using your hand, into the pan. Add the salt, remaining spices and fresh coriander and mix well. Taste for salt/chilli/tartness and adjust to accordingly.

To prepare the samosas:

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan on a very low heat.
  • At the same time, pour 4-5” oil in a small sauce pan/wok and heat on a low heat. (We will be frying our samosas in this oil).
  • Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each one into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball into a circle (approx. 8″ diameter).
  • Place the rolled out circle on the non-stick frying pan for 10-12 seconds and then remove and transfer to a chopping board (cooked side down, raw side up). Be careful not to overcook the dough – we cook it slightly to help firm it up so it is easier to handle. Cut the circle in half to create 2 semi-circles.
  • Spread the flour paste around all the edges of each semi circle and using both hands, fold the semi circle into a cone shape. Hold the cone and ensure that the joint of the edges creates a sealed seam in the middle of the cone. Hold this in one hand and begin to stuff with the potato mixture so the cone is 3/4 full.
  • Press the filling down with your fingers and seal the top of the cone to form a triangle shape. Pinch along the top edge to ensure it is completely sealed. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  • Once the oil is hot, add each samosa to the wok for frying. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan (it’s best to fry in batches). Fry on low/medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Turn the samosas in the oil every couple of minutes. Once done, they should be golden brown all over and the pastry should be crisp to touch. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove each samosas – being mindful to drain off as much oil as possible before draining on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining samosas and serve with your favourite chutneys.