Aloo ki tikki (Pakistani & Indian-style Potato Cakes) are one of those traditional South Asian foods that I’m forever amazed by. They’re stupidly simple, yet so clever in their flavor profile. The bold, pungent heat of the spices is perfectly balanced with the cooling fresh herbs and starchy potatoes. To help make them even easier to make, I’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here.
Though Aloo ki tikki are traditionally considered a street food or chai-time snack, they are incredibly versatile and go with any meal as an ever-welcome side dish. I like to let these shine by serving them as an entrée with some kind of pulao (like chana pulao or chicken pulao) and raita. They’re also delectable in a sandwich or bun with all your favorite toppings and ketchup or green chutney.
To Prepare the Aloo ki Tikki:
- 3 large (or 5 small) russet potatoes, (around 1.5 lbs)
- 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1-2 Thai or Serrano green chili peppers, stems removed and chopped in a few pieces
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves
- 1-2 tbsp mint leaves
- 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp each black pepper powder, red chili flakes, coriander powder, and cumin powder
- pinch red chili powder, or more to taste
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp Chat masala, optional
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 egg, whisked
- breadcrumbs (I use gluten-free), optional – if needed to help shape
- Neutral oil, as needed
- 1-2 eggs, whisked
- breadcrumbs (I use gluten-free), optional
To Cook the Potatoes
- Place the potatoes in a microwave safe plate (or just place on the microwave plate). Cook on high power for 5 minutes. Remove if cooked. if not, use a tong to turn each potato over, and continue to cook in 2 minute increments until done. Remove from the microwave, and cut in half to test if the potatoes have cooked fully. If not, microwave in 1 minute bursts until fully cooked. Allow to cool, then peel the potatoes and transfer to a medium bowl. Use a potato masher to mash them until no large lumps remain.
To Prepare Aloo ki Tikki:
- In a food processor, combine the rest of the ingredients except and egg and use the pulse function to chop so that the onions are finely chopped but not blended. You don’t want the onions to break down too much and end up releasing water. If you do notice any excess water in the mixture, tilt the food processor to drain it or dab with a paper towel.
- Add the chopped onion mixture to the mashed potatoes and taste and adjust salt and seasoning. Lastly, add the egg and mix well. Ideally, allow this mixture to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes (though I often skip this step). If you feel that they are not holding the shape as much as you’d like, add breadcrumbs, if needed.
- Using your hands, shape about 1/3 cup of the mixture into a flat, round patty about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Continue with the rest of the mixture. You should have 10-12 patties.
- Place the egg and breadcrumbs (if using) in shallow bowls so that you can dip them as you cook. Heat a large skillet, frying pan, or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Dip both sides of each patty into the egg wash, and then the breadcrumbs, if using. Place 4-5 patties in the pan and allow them to cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, using a spatula to turn them over. Reduce heat as necessary.
- Remove from the pan, and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil. Repeat until you have finished pan-frying all the patties. Cook any leftover egg in the remaining oil and serve with the patties.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve with a side of raita or chutney.
NOTES: If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the onion, green chili peppers, cilantro and mint. Mix with the remaining ingredients (excluding the egg) in a bowl