Batata vada or aloo vada, are deep fried fritters of spicy mashed potato coated in a seasoned chickpea flour. Batata vada are a very popular street food in India and it turns out they are actually pretty easy to make at home as well!
What is Batata Vada?
Batata vada (meaning potato dumpling) is a popular street food from Maharashtra India. It consists of a spicy seasoned patty made from mashed potato which is then dunked into a batter of chickpea flour (besan). The vadas are then deep fried until golden and crispy. Typically served hot with a spicy chutney.
Classic Indian Street Food Turned into a Homemade Snack
I'm not sure why but I was always daunted by making this from scratch. I guess thinking that anything mom made is also too complicated for me to make on my own. Because obviously there is no recipe to follow. Everything is just done by memory.
Lucky for me, I was able to memorize a few things from helping my mom in the kitchen from a pretty early age. (Turns out I actually was retaining a few things here and there! Not just sneaking in bites when I thought no one was looking.) Plus with a little help from recipes I've reviewed, I've managed to come up with my own go to recipe for one of my all time fave Indian snack foods, batata vada!
How to make Batata Vada?
So I've broken down the process to make it easier for me to manage. I do feel it helps in making this recipe so much less complicated and daunting.
- Prep the potatoes - this may actually be the crucial step. (In that, I've failed to prep the potatoes properly and ended with gummy mashed potatoes). I found that peeling, cutting the potatoes into 1.5 inch pieces and then soaking in cold water for at least 3-4 hours helps reduce the starch content on the potatoes. And once the starch content is reduced, the potatoes actually cook and mash perfectly without any fuss.
- Cook and season the potatoes - Boil the pre-soaked potatoes starting in room temperature, unsalted water for about 20 minutes for until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and and season with tempering of asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger, turmeric and chilies. Salt and lemon juice as needed. Lightly mash the potatoes and form into balls.
- Prep the batter - All you need is chickpea flour and water. But you can additionally season with turmeric, red chili powder and cumin powder if desired. I like to add a few tablespoons of rice flour to get a nice crispy on the fry.
- Fry and serve (and enjoy!) - deep fry batata vada for about 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy.
Potato Filling (Aloo or Batata)
- 4 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
- 2 tablesoons cilantro
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Tempering for Potato Filling
- 1 tablespoon oil for tempering
- 1 pinch asafoetida
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 2 small green chilies
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
Chickpea Flour Batter (Besan)
- 1 cup chickpea flour besan
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup water more or less as needed
- ¼ cup rice flour optional, for extra crispy exterior
- ½ teaspoons turmeric, red chilli powder and cumin powder each, optional
Make the Potato Filling
- Peel and chop the potatoes into 1.5 inch cubes. Rinse the potatoes a few times to remove some starch. Place the potatoes in a bowl with cold water completely covering the potatoes. Refrigerate the potatoes for at least 3-4 hours.
- Rinse the potatoes one more time. In a large pot with fresh room temperature, unsalted water, boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Make sure not to over boil the potatoes because they will become waterlogged. Drain the water from the potatoes and prepare the tempering immediately.
- Heat oil on medium heat in a frying pan or wok and crackle mustard seeds first. Then add cumin and fry them till they sputter.
- Add the chana dal and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chopped ginger and sauté for a half a minute on a low to medium-low heat. Add curry leaves, green chilies, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Stir and saute for a few seconds.
- Then add this tempering oil to the potatoes. Season with salt, lemon juice and cilantro leaves. Roll potato filling into balls, I use about 2 tablespoons of filling for each. Set aside.
Make the Chickpea Batter & Fry
- Combine the chickpea flour, salt, spices and rice flour if using. Slowly add water and whisk. Continue to add water until you reach a thick pancake batter consistency.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil in a wok or kadai. Carefully dip the potato ball into the chickpea batter and then lower into the hot oil.
- Fry the vada about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel lined tray and serve hot!