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Asma Khan’s Aloo Bonde

Fried until golden brown and served with chutney, these Indian street food classics are perfect for serving as a snack or as part of a larger spread.

From the book

Asma Khan


When I was growing up, you were almost guaranteed to be offered this snack if you dropped into someone’s house unexpectedly. Things are very different today from the India of the 1970s and ’80s. Everyone shopped from the local bazaar and there was a daily sabzi wallah (vegetable vendor) who carried fresh vegetables on a wooden cart and sold them outside your house. With small fridges and long hours without electricity due to power cuts, no one kept much in their refrigerators, but almost everyone had gram flour (besan) and potatoes in their kitchen, along with a trusty bottle of tomato ketchup. In today’s world, it’s very unlikely that you would get unexpected visitors, but if you do, this recipe is a great snack to make at short notice. Serve with a herby green or tangy red chutney.

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4 (about 600g in total) potatoes
1 tsp salt (plus a punch for the cooking water)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp green chillies
vegetable oil, for deep frying
For the batter:
130g gram flour (besan), sifted
⅓ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ghee


Boil the potatoes in their skins with a pinch of salt until tender to the point of a knife.

Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Mix the gram flour with the baking powder, then add the ghee and mix to form crumbs. Add the lemon juice, spices and salt, then gradually stir in the water. Add just enough water to get a batter that is the consistency of double cream.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and mash them. Mix in the salt, lemon juice, black pepper, coriander, mint and green chillies. Shape the mixture into 2.5cm diameter balls. Dip the potato balls in the batter, ensuring they are completely coated, otherwise they will disintegrate in the hot oil.

Heat 8cm of oil in a karai or wok over a medium–high heat. Drop 1/2 teaspoon of the batter into the oil to test if it is ready – the batter should immediately start to sizzle and darken. If the oil is not hot enough, heat it for a bit longer and test again. Fry the bonde in batches of four or five at a time, turning occasionally until they are crisp and golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper as you take each batch out of the oil. Serve hot.

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From the book: Ammu: Indian Home-Cooking To Nourish Your Soul

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