METERMake sure you have everything you need ready and in place before you start frying. Keep the batter and potato mixture to one side of the counter, and have a spatula and a plate with kitchen paper handy. The batter, potato mix, and chutney can be made a day in advance.
Homework 15 minutes
Cook 50 min
Make 8, to serve 4
For the vada
500 g of maris piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
Fine sea salt
For the mass
150 g chickpea flour
⅓ teaspoon of baking powder
For the hot sauce
100 g coriander, washed and chopped
50g of unroasted and unsalted peanuts
1 green chilli, chopped
¾-1 teaspoon of salt
1½ teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 good quality bread rolls
Make the chutney first. Put all but a handful of coriander in a blender, add a couple of tablespoons of water, and blend until well blended; You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl and / or add a little more water to make it nice and smooth. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed, transfer to small serving bowl and set aside.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, add cold water to cover, bring to a boil, then simmer until a knife slides easily into the meat, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a heat-resistant container.
In the same pan, heat two and a half tablespoons of oil over medium heat and, when hot, add the mustard seeds, garlic and chillies. Cook for two minutes, until the garlic is pale golden, then add the turmeric and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, and remove from heat. Pour the hot spiced oil over the boiled potatoes and mash them very well, I use a fork. Set aside until mixture is cool enough to handle.
For the dough, put the chickpea flour in a bowl with the baking powder and a third of a teaspoon of salt. Drizzle in 165 ml of water, mixing as you go, until the mixture is as thick as a pastry cream.
Divide the potato mixture in half, divide each half in four and roll them into balls of the same size, so that you end up with eight balls of about 4 cm in diameter.
To cook the vada, put 3 cm of oil in a small saucepan on the back of the hob and leave it over medium heat. Try dripping a little batter – if it floats almost instantly, the oil is hot enough.
Dip the potato into the batter with a spoon, turn it over, and then carefully place it in the hot oil. Cooking time can vary, but allow to fry for a minute and a half, until the vada lifts easily with a spatula without breaking the dough, then turn and fry for a minute and a half more, until everything is browned. Remove with the spatula and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining potato balls, then drizzle the leftover batter into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, ending with a small mountain of crisp chunks.
To serve, place one or two vadas on a bread roll, or FIG, drizzle on some green chutney, add a few chunks of the crunchy batter and a little reserved cilantro, and eat it fresh, hot, and quick.
Fiona Beckett’s Drinks Party
Who doesn’t secretly want a beer at the end of Christmas Day? My overall goal is Keller Pils from Lost & Grounded (£ 2.75 for 440ml Waitrose, 4.8%) or, if it has been exaggerated, Lucky Saint’s Low Alcohol Lager (£ 1.80 for 330ml Sainsbury’s, 0.5%). Both are also available in indies.
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