Batata ambado is a classic konkani Amchi dish that is like by all potato lovers and most potato non-lovers( well if there is such a word as non-lovers). It is basically mashed potato that is seasoned, shaped into a ball, dipped in a seasoned chick-pea flour ( besan) batter and then deep fried. There are many versions of this dish all over the country where it is called differently with a few differences in the ingredients. The Maharashtrians make it spicy and use a different seasoning. They usually place it in a small roll/bun, pair it with some spicy, dry garlic chutney and eat it qlike a slider/sandwich. This is a very popular street dish and is known as " vada paav" wherein "vada" means the potato patty and "paav" means the bun or the roll.Elsewhere in the country they make it with either diced or mashed potatoes which may be mixed with other vegetables like onion, peas and carrots. This seasoned mixture is then dipped in chick-pea flour ( besan) batter and deep fried. It is then served with ketchup or some spicy chutney.
Now, we Mangalorean Konkanis make it slightly different. Ours is a no-onion/garlic recipe which makes it a perfect item to be served during auspicious occasions . Hence this can be eaten during Navartri. It also is made exclusively with seasoned mashe potatoes only. No other vegetable is mixed in it. It is usually served with a ginger-coconut chutney.
You must be wondering why a deep-fried potato dish is here on Su's healthy living??? Well, there are a few reasons to it. The first one is that I have a healthier, skinny /low calorie/non-fried version too for this very popular item. Secondly, I wanted to provide this option for Navratri as it doesn't have onion/garlic. Thirdly, once in a while, eating one bonda is ok. Let me state something at this point. I rarely ever eat potatoes so I rarely make this dish. The pictures I am posting today is from the batate ambado that my mother made. She makes the best! Here is the recipe:
Servings: 2-3 people( serving size: 2 ambado per person)
Potatoes: 3, medium sized
Water: to boil the potatoes
Green chillies: 1, chopped fine
Cilantro ( coriander leaves), chopped: 1 tbsp
Freshly grated coconut: 1 tsp( optional)
Salt: to taste
Hing ( asofoetida): a pinch
Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Urad dal ( split matpe beans): 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
For the batter:
Besan ( chick pea flour): 3/4 cup
Water : 1/2cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder: 1/8 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1/8 tsp
Coconut oil for frying
For healthier version: coconut oil to grease the appe pan.
Boil the potatoes with the skin until tender in enough water so as to completely immerse the potatoes in it. You could cook the whole potato or cut it into quarters and cook it.
In a small frying pan/skillet, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the urad dal, sauté for few seconds until the urad dal turns slightly golden in color. Add the curry leaves. Turn off the flame. Add this tempering to the mashed potatoes and mix well.
Pinch a lime size portion of the potato mixture and shape it into a ball using your hands. Do this with all the available potato mixture. Keep aside in a plate.
In another deep bowl, mix together besan( chick pea flour) and water to form a smooth homogenous mixture that has the consistency of a purée or idli batter. The batter should not have any lumps . It should not be too thick or too thin. Now add to this mixture salt, red chilli powder and cumin powder. Mix well and keep aside.
Putting it together:
Deep frying method :
In a wok/ kadai, heat enough oil so as to completely immerse the potato balls. The oil should be so hot that if you put in it a drop of batter, it should immediately float to the top.
Dip each of the potato balls in the prepared batter until it is completely covered by the batter.
Now gently drop this batter covered potato ball into the hot oil. Reduce heat and fry on medium low flame until the outer cover starts turning golden yellow.
Flip them using a slotted spoon and fry the other side. When done remove using a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
Healthier unfried version:
Heat appe pan on medium heat. Grease it using coconut oil. Place batter coated potato balls one each in each of the pan indentations . Cover and cook on low flame for 3-4 mins or when it easily starts to leave the pan. Flip each of them and cook from the other side for another 3-4 minutes or until it starts to turn golden in color.I don't have pictures for this but I promise to post in future. I have used this method in the past. I have to however warn you that the appe pan version is not as tasty as the fried version.
Serve hot with coconut-ginger chutney or cilantro-coconut chutney or just good old ketchup.
Cooking made easy:
You could cook the potatoes using a pressure cooker. This makes it faster. One of the quicker ways to cool the cooke potatoes is placing them under running cold water. Using a peeler to peel is also an efficient way of peeling the potatoes.
Tip for healthy living:
If there is one vegetable that should be consumed organic, then those are potatoes. Potatoes have a very high level of pesticides in them as they absorb pesticides present in the soil and they absorb pesticides when they are sprayed on the plant! These pesticides have significant health impact on our bodies.
Food for thought:
Memories of our lives, of our works and seeds will continue in others. Rosa Parks