Batata wada

Batata wada

Spiced potato fritters or balls

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

The veritable batata wada is a mainstay for thousands of Bombay’s residents when it comes to an affordable midday filler. Many even start with a good wada for breakfast. For my wife it is an absolute must to eat almost daily whenever we visit Bombay. The basic spiced potato and onion mix can be served three ways: as it is as an accompaniment with bread or chapattis, made into potato bhajias, or, as here, made into wadas.


Quantity Ingredient
4-5 floury potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground asafoetida
7.5 cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1-2 thin green chillies, finely chopped, including the seeds
1-2 red onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 lime, juiced
250g chickpea flour
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
soft rolls
* narial ni leeli chutney [rid:9961]
or * lasun chi tikhat [rid:9969]


  1. Put the mashed potatoes into a large bowl, season and add the chopped coriander, then set aside.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan (have a lid or a frying pan mesh to hand).
  3. Add the mustard seeds, cover with the lid or mesh, reduce the heat and cook for 15–20 seconds, shaking the pan until they crackle and pop. Be careful not to burn the seeds.
  4. As soon as the crackling dies a bit add the curry leaves and asafoetida and swirl round the pan.
  5. Add the ginger and chilli and sauté for a minute or two then add the chopped onions. Sauté gently until the onions are pale and soft, then add the turmeric and the lime juice and add this mixture to the potatoes.
  6. Mix well, taste and re-season if necessary.
  7. Now to make the mixture into wadas. Sift the chickpea flour into a bowl and add enough water beating all the time with a whisk to make a smooth, creamy pouring batter the consistency of batter when frying fish or making pancakes. Season, cover and leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Beat the potato mixture well to make it as smooth as possible and shape into 10–12 equal-sized balls. If serving as a canapé snack, make the balls much smaller.
  9. Heat the oil to 180°C or until a tiny dribble of the batter dropped in sizzles, rises to the surface immediately and browns in 30 seconds.
  10. Fry all the wadas a few at a time until crisp and golden, turning over if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander over a bowl, or on paper towels. Serve in soft rolls with fresh chutney.
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