Aloo Tikki with Tamarind Chutney

from My Thali 

These bring back memories of being stuck in Delhi in March of 2020 while hosting a food tour of India. We were an anxious bunch as the world shut down, desperate for ways to get home. To cheer us all up, our hostess fried up these crunchy treats and served them with tamarind chutney. It worked. For a while, anyway. Aloo tikki are popular street food fare in north India: crispy potato patties stuffed with a spiced pea filling and delicious dunked in pretty much any chutney.

Medjool dates give the all-purpose Date-Tamarind Chutney body, the jaggery adds a caramel sweetness, and the tamarind brings sour notes for balance. Served with all manner of north Indian snacks, you can store this chutney in the fridge for up to two weeks.


Aloo Tikki:

4 Yukon Gold (or other yellow-fleshed) potatoes, peeled and quartered

½ tsp grated ginger

¾ tsp salt

2 Tbsp breadcrumbs, plus extra if needed

½ cup frozen peas

½ tsp Chaat Masala

½ tsp Garam Masala

¼ tsp red chili powder

Small handful of cilantro, chopped

Vegetable oil, for frying

Date-Tamarind Chutney:

½ cup seedless tamarind pulp

½ cup pitted Medjool dates

¼ cup grated jaggery or brown sugar

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp red chili powder

½ tsp Chaat Masala

½ tsp salt


Aloo Tikki

Add potatoes to a large saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain, then return to pan and allow to dry out from their residual heat before mashing.

Transfer potatoes to a bowl, add ginger and salt, and mash. Add breadcrumbs and mix until potatoes no longer feel sticky in your hands. Add more breadcrumbs if needed.

Divide potato mixture into 8-10 balls.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 30 seconds. Drain, then transfer to a bowl and mash with a fork. Add chaat masala, garam masala, chili powder and cilantro and mix well.

Make a small depression with your finger in a potato ball, fill with a teaspoon of spiced peas and close the potato back over the depression, pinching to seal the filling inside. Gently flatten into a patty, about ½-inch thick. Repeat with remaining potato balls and filling.

Add oil to a depth of 1 inch to a deep-frying pan over medium-high heat. Heat until it reaches a temperature of 350F. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, gently lower patties into the pan and shallow fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer aloo tikki to a plate lined with paper towels and drain excess oil.

Serve with your choice of date-tamarind chutney, green chutney or heirloom tomato chutney – or all three!

Makes 8-10

Date-Tamarind Chutney:

In a saucepan, combine tamarind, dates and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until tamarind and dates are softened. Add jaggery (or brown sugar) and stir to dissolve. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Add cumin, coriander, chili powder, chaat masala, and salt. Simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add ½ cup water and use a food processor to blend the mixture into a smooth paste. The chutney should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a sieve to remove any tamarind fibers, cool, and serve right away – or for deeper flavor, the next day. You can store this chutney in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 1 cup.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: A great addition to a salad or as a side to a spicy dish – adjust heat levels to suit your palate.

Excerpted from My Thali: A Simple Indian Kitchen by Joe Thottungal with Anne DesBrisay. Photography by Christian Lalonde. Copyright © 2023 by Thali Restaurant. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher .