deep-fried potato dumplings in chickpea batter (with dry garlic chutney).

As regular readers will surely know, we don’t deep fry too often. Apart from occasional Falafels, Pakoras or the (in)famous Cluris, we rarely venture into this space.

When I came home this evening, B was away at the gym and I spied our stash of homegrown potatoes on the counter. Hmm…How would Bondas (aka the south Indian cousin of Batata vadas) be with purple potatoes??

I could even pass it off as health food, since we figured out that these beauties have the same flavonoids that give blueberries their antioxidant richness. (See Microwave Purple Potato Crisps.)

When Anita announced the Batata vada event, B had proclaimed her distaste for this dish (she is not fond of fried stuff – esp ones fried in besan/chickpea flour). When she arrived from the gym the cast iron appam (aebleskiver) pan was on the stove, the potato balls had just been made and everything was ready to be fried. The purple potatoes just did the trick :D I even got a helping hand. How about that?

Since we read this post @ Red Chillies, we’ve been using the appam / aebleskiver pan for all our deep-fried goodies. One to 1.5 tsps of oil in each of the seven slots is all it takes to fry several batches of dumplings and fritters.

3.5 tbsps oil in all, and most of it was left over after frying up this batch (we made exactly seven bondas). That way, we know how much oil is consumed and do not end up throwing away too much if we do not want to reuse it. Plus, the cast iron pan does not need to be washed, just wiped and put away. The cocktail-sized treats end up crisper than regular ones and aid portion control.

It certainly was a royal treat. The filling retained its color after frying and the cut bondas looked and tasted fantastic. Bottomline – when we do fry it had better be good. I certainly enjoyed every moment of making and eating them. B grudgingly gives her approval!


(Makes 7-8 small bondas)

For the batter

4 heaped Tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
1 Tbsp rice flour
1 tsp dry Chilli Garlic chutney (optional)
** or a dash of cayenne powder
1/3 tsp of ajwain (bishop’s weed) freshly ground (or cumin)
pinch of baking powder
salt to taste

For the filling
boiled and coarsely mashed potatoes – 3/4 cup (we used purple potatoes and did not peel them)
2 serrano or Thai bird chillies
3-4 curry leaves
1/2 – 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
salt to taste

about 3.5 tablespoons of oil

Usually the filling has mustard seeds, cilantro, and turmeric. We didn’t have cilantro and I wanted to preserve the purple color, so I dispensed with the turmeric. Since I used gobs of ajwain (bishop’s weed) in the batter, I chose not to use mustard seeds.

1) Mix the batter ingredients well, removing any lumps.

2) Add enough water to make a thick batter (pancake or uthappam consistency).

2) Chop the green chillies and curry leaves very fine and mash them together with the potatoes. Add the salt and lime juice and mix it once more.

3) Make small balls with the filling.

4) Heat oil in the appam / aebleskiver pan – filling oil to 1/3 level in each slot – about 1.5 tsps per slot.

5) Gently drop the filling into the batter. Purple potatoes are one the drier, less starchy side and will not bind as easily. Spoon some batter over the filling to create an even coat.

6)Use a spoon to lower the batter covered filling into the frying pan. Fry until golden brown on one side, then using a skewer or fork, gently turn the bondas over.

7) Fry till golden brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels and serve with ketchup/chutney.

Pre-dinner bite today. Cocktail Bondas with a glass of Moscato d’Asti.

This goes to Anita who keeps reminding us that we need to indulge ourselves once in a while.

- Jai

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  1. enjay says:

    You totally rock! Now I know which side is going to win in the baked vs. deep-fried manchurian debate. Thank you.

  2. Mona says:

    Those ‘purple’ bondas look delish.

  3. Laavanya says:

    The purple bondas look so pretty – lovely pictures!

  4. brilliant, brilliant use of the appam pan. I am going to look for mine. (haven’t seen it in a while.) oh, i love fried.

  5. Aparna says:

    Purple bondas! I think maybe, I’ve seen almost everything now. Loved the use of the “appakaaral” for making them. I use mine only for “neiyappam”.
    Btw, Bee, what was the “flees” about my bondas?

  6. Priya says:

    I have a international cookout party with a few colleagues at the office this weekend. I am the only Indian and the only vegetarian in the group and was asked to bring something Indian and vegetarian cos they would be serving only meat! :( I’ll try and make a few of these along with aloo puffs, can’t think of anything else…

    what a considerate set of colleagues you have ! -j

  7. hima says:

    Lovely Bondas.

    I am hosting Sunday Snacks event.. would appreciate if you can come up with something for that

  8. Maya says:

    Brilliant!!! Indeed saves so much of ooil if not re-used and from the deep-frying also. Never occured to me..

  9. RP says:

    They look beautiful! I have a an aebleskiver(grr..I can never spell it right) pan that I only use for unniyappams. Good to see that I can use it for other things too. :)

    Nirmala! :D The kadai is already hidden in bee’s car. That’s why poor jai had to use aebleskiver pan for frying bondas!

  10. Cynthia says:

    You even got a helping hand! now that is something to smile about. Moscato d’ Asti is one of my favourite wines.

  11. Siri says:

    Thats one lovely ideas to fry things up Jai..:).

  12. Rajani says:

    looks great and very innovative! planning to buy one of those appachattis next trip home.

  13. Namratha says:

    Why didn’t I think of using the apam pan for frying too? The purple insides look….exquisite!

  14. Menu Today says:

    Hi Jai,

    Fantastic idea:-) Colourful Bonda ready using little oil.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  15. Shradha says:

    Hi .. I read your tip (of using appam pan )on someone else’s blog. Honestly I didn’t think it would work out so good. :D finally I had this one boiled potato sitting in my refrigerator and I decided to try it out. I was completely floored with the result .. how healthy can ‘batata vada’ get .. I guess you proved it. :D :D
    Thank you.

  16. [...] with friends and family is at the heart of the party, not deep-frying necessarily.  In fact, some of us here managed to deep fry with so little fat that the goodies ended up very much as health food on all [...]

  17. Meera says:

    This was on my priority list from the day I read it. I tried these today. I used the usual batata vada stuffing that I use, but fried your way!! I am just happiest person alive now!!! The result was too good!!! THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS!!

  18. [...] the Psychedelic Cocktail Bondas? Well, we didn’t let y’all on the whole story. I got to eat most of the crust from [...]

  19. [...] use my aebleskiver / appam/ paniyaram pan, as outlined HERE and HERE. 3/4 cup soaked lentils give me about 21 fritters – three rounds of frying. By the third round, the [...]

  20. spice says:

    I started blogging recently only….and within this small period came across so many good ideas….now I have one more thing added to my “to buy List”—-”apam pan”…..bondas look so pretty…..any idea where can I find this pan(cast iron) in States.

  21. [...] paniyaram, dumplings, and the best for deep-frying fritter, bondas and vadais. (We’ve used it here and [...]

  22. [...] collected a few Lodge cast iron pieces that we used frequently – skillets, griddles, an aebleskiver (appam) pan. They’re supposed to develop a rich patina and a coating that assumes non-stick properties [...]

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