I recently went to a restaurant called “Rajasthan” in Patna (capital of Bihar) and took this photo of a plate of “potato cutlets” or potato chops. They are also known as the ‘aloo tikkis’. The world ‘aloo’ means potato in Hindi.
The dish was absolutely lovely and it happens to be one of my favourites. The two cutlets or chops/aloo tikkis seen on the plate are nothing more than spiced potatoes battered in floor and probably deep/shallow fried. The sliced potatoes on the side are probably supposed to be potato wedges. If you love these kinds of food then you must try this potato cutlet perhaps as a starter. Many Indians don’t have the concept of starters as in the West. We would rather get straight down to the main course however most Indian restaurant menus would have a ‘starter section’. So feel free to try them out. We Indians consider them as side dishes or something to have with a cup of tea so we would just go to the restaurant just to have these cutlets.
You’ll also find these potato cutlets sold on the streets as well. Unless you know what you’re doing, I would advise you to stay away from street food. Here’s a street food guide. They can be very appealing and no doubt that you’ll be tempted to try them – but best avoided. However, I have met some frequent visitors to India who are used to Indian street food! They enjoy the street food like the locals. But they come well prepared; they have had their hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid vaccinations. So even if they drink water from the street vendors, it’s likely that they will survive any assault on their bowels. These three diseases are water borne diseases and can cause serious problems to tourists from contaminated food and water. Here’s how to buy drinking water while in India.
By all means try the potato cutlet – just don’t try them on the streets unless you have had your jabs. Read this guide on street food. Here’s a list of 10 Indian dishes not to be missed when in India and here’s a list of the most popular chicken dishes of India.
Potato cutlet recipe (aloo tikki) to try at home
Peal and boil some potatoes and make mash them up using a masher. Add spices such as salt and pepper, grated garlic, ginger and onions, coriander, garam masala and herbs. Shape them out in round flat burger shapes or oval shaped as shown in the picture. You can either coat them in bread crumbs or use corn flour mixed with plain flour as batter. Now shallow or deep fry till they are golden brown and serve.