A few years ago, I attended the Jaipur Literature Festival, in India. It was an excellent event, with many interesting speakers, but, of course, what I remember most is what I ate. Some of the dishes I tried, both on the breakfast buffet at our hotel and at restaurants, were familiar to me, although they were much better than any version I'd had before, but many items were new, including something that is now one of my favourite Indian snacks, aloo bonda.
Called batata vada in some parts of India (and it probably has other names, too), they are composed of roughly mashed, well-seasoned potato shaped into balls, dipped into chickpea-flour batter and deep-fried. I loved them so much that I started experimenting with recipes shortly after coming back to Hong Kong.
One of the most important tasks is to cook the potatoes in such a way that they don't get waterlogged; I boil them with the skin on, then peel them and mash them while they're hot, so the steam escapes. Mix the potatoes with toasted cumin and mustard seeds, then stir in cooked onion, garlic, ginger and fresh chilli before seasoning with salt, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and curry leaves. Shape into balls and, if you have the time, let them cool in the fridge (this firms up the mixture). Dip the balls in a batter made with chickpea flour, turmeric, chilli powder, salt, baking powder and water, and deep-fry before serving with chutney.