Deep Fried Love: Batata Vada

batata vada
If you have been seeing Batata Vadas appear in some of the food blogs you read and wondering what is up with that, here is what is at the root of it all – old fashioned indulgence.  A year ago, while discussing this and that on this blog, I and my readers decided a party was in order – an old fashioned yet not completely throw-caution-to-the-winds party.  Celebrating food without worrying about what went into it, or got left out; being intuitive instead of thoughtful.  It lead to a bunch of us frying poori last year, some for the first time!

This year we are experimenting with frying batata vadas, some of us for the first time!  The motive, again, has been to cook and share with friends and family, and remind ourselves that a little indulgence is a good thing.  And, of course, have some fun while we were frying!

This Independence Day (August 15) which was doubling for Raksha Bandhan, I was expecting my niecelet, my youngest sister’s daughter, to come and tie rakhi on the son’s hand.  My younger sister and her sons are also here on a visit.  It was the perfect occasion to include some deep fried love.  I did all the prep work before they arrived.  The potatoes were mashed and ready to be made into balls, and the chutney was chilling in the fridge.  Pav had been procured for anyone who fancied vada-pav.

sisters on a roll

The two-year old niecelet showed restraint in the face of temptation (motichoor ladoos) and made a quick job of the ceremony of tika-rakhi tying-offering sweets before reaching for her third ladoo of the day.  In return for her sisterly affections, my son gave her a giant bar of Cadbury’s milk chocolate (in addition to the promise of brotherly love, of course).  That done, we all headed to the kitchen to get started on something we had been planning for weeks – batata vadas for tea!

frying vadas

In contrast to some of you who showed great restraint in your portioning, I went headlong into my army-portions!  We fried 40 batata vadas (we’d made 60 balls, but…)!  It served 9 adults and 2 children (the older nephew played spoil sport and wouldn’t partake…).

There are many traditional versions (no matter what Manisha may tell you).  The recipe is easy to adapt so use it only as a rough guide. This is how my MIL taught me to…

Batata Vada
(makes 40)

For the potato mix:
1 kg (about 2lbs) potatoes, boiled
3/4 C peas (fresh or frozen)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, smashed
fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
green chillies, chopped
2 t mustard seeds
1/2 t mild hing (asafoetida)
1 t turmeric
juice of 1-2 limes
2T oil

For the batter:
2C besan
1 t turmeric
1 t chilli (cayenne) powder (optional)
1/3t baking soda
2 t hot oil

oil for frying

Peel the boiled potatoes and mash them coarsely, such that knobs of potatoes remain. Heat 2 T oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and cover immediately – this prevents the mustard from spluttering all over your kitchen. After the mustard has quietened, add hing and turmeric and stir.  Add green chillies and garlic followed by the chopped onions. Stir till the onions turn transparent, and the raw smell has gone. Turn heat off. Blanch peas (if using fresh), or thaw frozen peas. Add all the ingredients to the mashed potatoes and mix. Taste for salt and tang – well salted with just a hint of lime. Make into small balls, about 3/4 inch in diameter.

Heat oil for frying while you prepare your batter. Take besan, turmeric, chilli powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually mix in water to form a thick batter. When you are ready to start frying, add baking soda and mix. Add two teaspoons of the hot oil from the fryer and mix.

Pick the potato balls with your fingers, dip into the batter, shake off excess batter, and gently drop into hot oil (in a karahi or fryer). In a karahi, you will need to spoon over some hot oil so that the vadas are easy to handle when they are ready to be turned over. Fry till golden brown all around. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve with coconut chutney, garlic chutney, or ketchup. This makes great finger food at any party.

ze nephew

Last call for lazy spoil sports! She promised the band!

PS: It is Janmashtmi today. Some feasting ideas, if you have already done the batata vadas first! Happy feasting!


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A self professed urban ecologist!

40 thoughts on “Deep Fried Love: Batata Vada”

  1. Ohhhh my god…

    So, your sister M used to be my boss, and she’d pointed me to your blog some time ago. I’ve never made a comment (though I’ve been reading for months!) but today is the day because those vadas look soooo good!! And I can eat them because they are gluten free. 🙂

    Hi, Karin. Good to have you de-lurk! There are many other gluten free recipes here! So, did you make these vadas?

  2. It must have been real “bonda” fun with family. Looking forward to the rest of the party!

    Oh yes – good old sister bonding over deep fried snacks!

  3. Hmm batata wadas everywhere….need to keep an Antacid handy ..considering where ever i go in blogosphere i get to feast my eyes on these deep fried sinful thing

    Follow it up with ice cream!

  4. Yeah yeah yeah…I’m coming. I’m late I’m late as usual trying to find my fan and kid-gloves. 😀 I actually made some last week but I didn’t like the results- used a moist potato (drier potato works much better). Oh, as a subzi it was good…I admit to eating a katori or two before anything was rolled and fried, kind of like your “missing” 20 balls… 😉

    The 2YO niecelet already has very good taste in ladoos!

    This wasn’t that kind of a party… you made it at last!
    The same happens when I make the mashed potato mix for aloo paranthas…
    Yes, she has a sweet tooth!

  5. i hear ya 😀 It was crazy last week (except the last cpl. of days), will be frying some tonight 🙂

    Looks like y’all had lots of fun frying vadas and even more fun munching on them! In the spirit of sharing, send some over 😀

    How long are we supposed to wait? A party without music?!

  6. ooooh … lovely! I really miss making huge army proportions of all my favorite foods, considering it’s just the husband and I … This is truly the way to indulge in some serious deep-fried goodness!!

    You’re right – sometimes what you really miss is the piles of food, the sign of large scale family festivities and fun…

  7. lovely vadas! mine are on their way – thanks to you we had a great vada party last night and everyone were licking their fingers!

    Perfect for your Bollywood theme – I knew!

  8. army of batata vadas there!! must have added the zing to the party (no pun intended!!) am ofcourse one of those lazy spoil sports!!

    It’s never too late…

  9. I didn’t go to the Brighton temple for the Janmashtami celebrations. I had something else to celebrate so we stayed home. That’s what friends are for. I hope the Good Lord grants me that when we meet at the pearly gates.

    As long as you celebrated! That’s the whole point of festivals, no? Good behaviour counts – you got a star for this, I’m sure!

  10. looks like you folks had fun! batata vadas are our all time favorites too, but we settled for ragda-pattice this rakshabandhan:)

    Another good way with mashed up potatoes!

  11. Anita, I keep telling myself I can’t miss this event. I will be on board I hope with the few days left.

    Come along…this party goes on and on and on…there’s always room for more!

  12. Yum.Potatoes are on the boil!All my promises about no fried food THIS month went right out the window seeing those vadas getting fried!!I’ll walk another mile this weekend I promise myself.

  13. Huh! I was sure someone mentioned a round-up by the end of August. Or must we wait till the 21st night of September to share the love?

    See this is what happens when you start adding peas to batata vadas.

    Ba de ya – say that you remember…

  14. Hi, Very very well done Vadas and also your website. Its a delighful place with excellent recipes and pictures.

    I am very new to blogging, only 2 weeks old. Do come and visit me whenever u can make it.

    keep up the beautiful work.

  15. Your mention of large Army quantities brought back memories of India. My Dad and then 3 brothers were/are in the Army and Air Force.
    I grew up no stranger to large batches of food and this batata vada looks delicious.

  16. This is my first time here…lovely recipes and lovely intro.
    Thanks for sharing the batata vadas recipe…
    Happy eating n happy blogging

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