Urulaikizhangu Bonda (Batata Vada, Potato Dumplings)

Bonda is comfort food for me. But we rarely made this at home when I was a kid. So, it was always a special treat when it was served. At family weddings, however, this was invariably on the menu for the evening snack (served with coconut chutney). One of the main reasons why I enjoyed attending weddings when I was a child. In later years, after I turned diabetic, this was strictly denied as it was deep-fried and contained potatoes. So, the only avenue to eat this was at weddings. I used to judiciously eat one piece. Then throw caution to the winds and have two more! In Mumbai and surrounding areas, this is street food with several different variations. Often served in a bun. In whatever form, it is a delicious snack. So I began to experiment and came up with this oil-free version that is very very close to the deep-fried bonda.

4-5 medium sized potatoes
1 big onion, chopped fine
1-2 green chillies, chopped fine
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
Salt to taste
For The Seasoning
5-6 cashew nuts, chopped (or use any other nuts)
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 sprig curry leaves
To Garnish
A few drops of lemon juice
For The Batter
3/4 cup chickpea flour (besan, kadalai mavu)
1/4 cup red/brown rice flour
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Pressure cook the potatoes for 3 whistles
Let the steam release naturally, then open the lid
Mash the potatoes while still slightly warm
Heat a wok and roast the cashew nuts (or any other nuts) till slightly brown
Set aside
In the same wok, roast mustard seeds till they start spluttering
Add asafoetida, curry leaves, onion and green chillies
Saute till the onion is translucent
Add turmeric powder and salt
Add the mashed potatoes and cashew nuts
Mix well and switch off the flame
Once the mixture cools, add the lemon juice and mix well
Set aside
Mix the chickpea flour, rice flour, chilli powder and salt
Add a little water at a time to make a batter
The batter should be slightly thicker than medium consistency
Divide the potato mixture into equal parts and make balls of it (each ball should be about the size of a large lemon)
Dip each ball in the batter, ensuring that all sides of the ball are coated
Place in a steamer
Repeat for the remaining balls
Steam for 2-3 minutes
Transfer to an air fryer
‘Fry’ for 10-12 minutes till the balls turn golden brown
Cool and serve with tomato sauce/ketchup or coconut chutney

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