Recipe- Varanasi, India
A firework of flavours!! You know this dish! Everyone that has travelled India with open eyes certainly came across this Streetfood Classic . You cannot miss it! It is sold almost everywhere in the northern states. To speak honestly, it can be a bit risky to just enjoy Aloo Tikki just anywhere on the streets cause it can lead to an upset stomage.
If you are a long term Indian Streetfoodie then you can just go for it without hesitatingJ For those who do not wanna risk ending up in the bathroom all day here is the homemade version of Aloo Tikki. It tastes exactly the same as on the streets, even better ,trust me!!!
I was always so curious about this colorful dish from the streetstalls that is just being served in a plastic “take-away bowl” and a wooden spoon. It seemed so complex with all it’s different spices and fresh veggies. There is this multidimensional taste experience to it. I thought :” This must be something tricky to learn” ! But I didn’t know that it is not complex at all. Just a bit time consuming.
While staying in Vararanasi I met Roly who is a passionate cook living in her apartment near Assi Ghat. I got her contact from a nice guy named Rohit who is the owner of“ The Place”NGO Outlet Café” where I had excellent breakfast every morning. Thanks a lot for hooking me up with Roli.
Roli is a very kind and humble lady who is not just a passionate cook but also actively running her NGO to help beggars on the streets of Varanasi.
She invited me to her home on a Sunday and showed me how to master the “Aloo Tikki”. We had a great time and I became to know her Mama and siblings as well. They all got engaged in the cooking. Her Mum’s Chai was incredible. Keep doing your good work in Varanasi Roly!! I saw the spark in your eyes when talking about helping other human beings. It’s motivating! Thank you for being such great teacher!
I have already made the recipe myself and I couldn’t believe how tasty it was.
Here i share Roly’s authentic -ALOO TIKKI RECIPE- straight from her lovely home in Varanasi.
As always I do not use exact quantities as homecooking is always feeling the quantities instead of nailing them to exact recipe. You have to adjust the dish to your own taste preferences.
This is how Roly did it:
Soak your desired amount of Chickpeas in water overnight. For example in a pot as on the photo in Roly’s home. They will be used for the Chole later.
First make mash potatos with a bit of salt and shape the mash into small balls as on the pictures.
Put on the side for later.
Preparing the fresh veggies and spices for the garnish .
- First roast cumin seeds and whole dried red chillies on a flat pan. No oil is added here. When the cumin turns dark and the chillies turn black they are done. Roast both separately and grind to a powder as shown on the photos. Then and set aside for later.
- Now grate carrots, radish and fresh coriander ( 3 different small bowls) and set aside.
- Grind Kala Namak ( black rock salt)
4.Melt brown sugar with a bit of water and again set aside in another bowl.
5.Chop onions finely and place in a bowl as well.
– Now you have all these fresh, roasted and melted ingredients together in different bowls but they are yet not ready to be used. We need the Chole!
Making the Chole
Chole is a Chickpea Curry that will be the base of the Aloo Tikki. It gets finished in a pressure cooker after being fried in a wok for approx. 15 minutes.
Doing the Chole!!
First add Mustard Oil to a hot wok and add:
sliced Onions, lots of fresh Garlic (roughly chopped), lots of Ginger fresh Ginger (roughly chopped), green Chilli( cut in half) a couple of Bayleaves and stir the mix well. The Oil must be really hot!
When I say lots of Ginger and Garlic I personally mean a big handful or more. Trust me, it’s okay
To this good smelling mix you now add half a paket of “Chole Masala”. You can buy it in any Indian or Asian supermarket back home.It seems a lot but again it is really not too much. Then add a generous tablespoon of turmeric powder and a teaspoon of salt. Stir again well before adding chopped tomatos to the wok.The Masala( spice mix) should look pretty brown right now. If it has become like a thick paste it is a good sign.
Next add the chickpeas that you have soaked overnight. Add a good amount of the chickpea water as well. Now Transfer the “Chole” to a pressure cooker and boil for 30 minutes. The pressure should be released at least 3 times during the cooking, according to Roly. After 30 minutes have a taste!
Not enough Ginger? Need more garlic? Chop some and stir through. It is homecooking.
When you are satisfied with your Chole it is time for preparing the Potato balls.
Frying the Aloo( potatos)
Now it is time to finish the mash potato balls that you have prepared before. Take a flat pan and add a little Oil to it. On a medium heat fry the potato balls from both sides until golden brown.
When done it is time to put everything together!!
The final process! Bringing all ingredients together!
It is time for plating and most important for eating!
- Take a soupbowl and fill it up to 3 quarters with the Chole Masala.
2.To the bowl add 2 or 3 Potato balls and mash them into the Chole.
3.Now be generous with the fresh carrots, raddish and onions. Place them on top of the Chole followed by fresh Coriander.
4.To bring this even to a higher dimension by adding a good dash of the melted brown sugar to it, plus a tablespoon of curd.
5.Finally sprinkle the grindes Chilliflakes ,the roasted grounded cumin and the black salt on top. Done!
Here you have your own Indian Streetfood- masterpiece! Aloo Tikki !! Just try to make it and let me know how you like it! Enjoy!!
See you soon for another home cooked recipe.
Your Foodvagabond, Michael
Here are some more Impressions of Varanasi