This is what it is: A fried potato patty topped with a tasty peas curry and garnished with tangy sauces. It is yet another snack that makes an easy transition to a one-dish meal. Piping hot and layered with several flavors, it is also a cold-weather favorite for me.
This dish is called ragda patties where I come from, ragda being the spicy curry ("ragda" comes from the word for "churned" reflecting the way you vigorously stir the curry to blend the flavors). The word "patties" means, well, the potato patties but the word is pronounced "pattice" (rhyming with "lattice") for some strange reason! Versions of this dish are popular all over India, and the North Indian version is called aloo tikki chaat.
In the kitchen, this is one dish that is a snap to make. It is actually one of the very first dishes I ever tried to make as a teenager in my aunt's kitchen in the Western suburbs of Bombay.
It is also one of the few street foods that I have actually eaten on the street. Most Bombay street vendors are not exactly winning awards for hygienic food prep, and many Indian parents will warn their kids to NEVER eat at street stalls, no matter how tempting the food. The fear did keep me in line for the most part, so much of the street food I have eaten was in fact enjoyed in small "proper" restaurants. But a block away from my college is a row of street food vendors who have been there for so long that the stalls are coverted to semi-storefronts. Well, based on that little technicality, a friend and I would troop over once in a while and enjoy the ragda-patties, a steal at Rs. 10 a plate (US $0.25 or so). Our argument was also that this dish is well cooked and fried thus making killing whatever may be lurking in there. Safer or not, I lived to tell the tale and dish the dish :) Still, don't go telling my mom!
My version of ragda patties is very easy to make together as an almost-one-dish meal. In the patty-curry combination, one can make a spicy patty and serve it with a less-spicy curry or the other way around. Or one can make both components spicy to make it a really fiery dish. I usually make the patties very plain and the curry quite spicy. This is a good dish to make if you have a bunch of eaters with differing tolerance for spice. The patties can be eaten just by themselves or dipped into tamarind chutney. Kids also devour these little patties, I remember my friends' twin girls loved them the last time I made these.
I add some bread to the patty mixture to help hold it together better. This is optional. For me, it is one way to use up odd bits of bread. I stick them in the freezer and thaw them out when I am making patties.
As for the tamarind chutney that is used as a topping, it can be home-made or store-bought. A bottle of store-bought tamarind chutney is a condiment that is always found in my fridge, but if anyone would like a recipe, just ask!
Ragda Patties(serves 3-4 as a main dish)
4 large or 6 medium potatoes, boiled
2 slices bread
salt to taste
oil for shallow frying
1 cup white vatana (dried whole yellow peas)
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
1⁄2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. red chilli powder
1⁄2 tsp. cumin powder
1⁄2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tbsp. jaggery
1 tbsp. tamarind paste
salt to taste
1 tbsp. oil
- Soak the peas overnight, then cook them on the stove-top or pressure cooker till fully cooked.
- To make the ragda, heat oil and saute the onion for a few minutes till transluscent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute more. Add salt, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and saute for a few seconds till spices are aromatic. Then add the cooked peas, 2 cups water, tamarind and jaggery. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Mash some of the peas to make the curry thicker if needed. Taste the curry and adjust the balance of sweet/sour/salty. Set ragda aside.
- To make patties, dip the bread slices in warm water, then squeeze out excess water and place in a bowl. Add boiled potatoes and salt, then knead everything together to mix well. Form patties with the potato mixture. Then shallow fry the patties in a small amount of oil and drain on paper towels.
- To assemble, place 2 patties on a plate. Top with a ladleful of peas curry. Then garnish with dollops of tamarind chutney, minced onion, cilantro and sev and yogurt if desired.
Enjoy the explosion of flavors!