Dubai: If there is one vegetable in Indian cuisine that you cannot do without, it has to be potatoes. From breakfast to lunches, snacks and dinner, they are used in many different ways - boil, deep-fry, roast or bake. They are versatile.
Potatoes are a cook's delight. You can use them as a filling in parathas (shallow-fried Indian bread), add to curries, cook in biryanis or even make a chaat (Indian snack with spiced yoghurt). India's love for potatoes is real.
A food crop so integral to Indian recipes, you would think, they originated in India. However, that is not the case. According to many online publications, potatoes were first discovered in South America and came to India with Portuguese travellers.
However, the British, who were colonising India during that period (1858-1947), popularised the vegetable, and that's how it became a part of Indian regional cuisines.
From the South of India to the North, from East to the West, potato-based recipes are popular. For example, the famous masala dosa from the southern Indian region to the classic Maharashtrian (from the West of India) vada pav, aloo chaat from the North, and singharas from the Indian state of Bengal all have potatoes. It is relatively safe to say - most people love potatoes.
Gulf News Food team has compiled five classic Indian regional recipes featuring the star vegetable – potato. Here they are:
1. Aloo Bhaji: Aloo here means potatoes, and bhaji is a dish made of fried vegetables. This recipe is a quick turnaround one that uses mustard seeds, coriander seeds and slit green chillies for flavour. Toss a few cubed potatoes, tomatoes, spices in a pan, garnish with chopped coriander, you have aloo bhaji ready in 15 minutes. Here is a recipe to try.
2. Spicy Potato Puris: You must have heard of the famous North Indian breakfast dish of aloo paratha (shallow-fried bread with spiced potato filling). Here is another version – spicy potato puris or deep-fried bread with potatoes. This recipe's potatoes are boiled, peeled and mashed into a dough, spiced with cumin and garam masala. Once done, the dough is broken into small balls and rolled out thin to be deep-fried. The result - golden brown, crispy spicy aloo puris, served hot. Try this recipe for spicy potato puris.
3. Mumbai Vada Pav: This is a classic Maharashtrian street food that enjoys global popularity. The vada (a deep-fried battered potato patty) is sandwiched between a chutney spread pav or bun and served with crispy fried and salted green chillies. Walk across any street-style shop in Mumbai, and you will find people from all walks of life enjoying this classic snack. Call it a desi hamburger if you like, and try the recipe here.
4. Potato Bondas: A deep-fried Indian snack from the south of India, potato bondas are best served on a rainy day with a steaming cup of filter coffee or masala chai. This recipe uses mashed potatoes, tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds, dipped into a gram flour batter and then deep-fried. If this has you craving a bonda, read the recipe here and try.
5. Singara: Singaras are a classic snack from Kolkata, India. Call them fried pastry with spicy potatoes and best enjoyed with a side of sticky-sweet chutney. This recipe uses potatoes prepared with Bengali panch phoron or five-spice mix and peanuts. Then, this mix is filled into a savoury pastry and deep-fried until crispy. Paired with a chutney recipe, this is a quintessential Bengali snack. Try this step-by-step guide to making Singhara, and enjoy!
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