Potato Pancakes is a perfect tea-time snack made of a batter of grated Potatoes, eggs, Plain flour and some seasoning. This batter is shallow fried in a shape of Pancake till both sides become crisp and light brown in color. It can be served with some tomato ketchup and can be paired up with some hot Masala chai.
Monsoons have finally arrived in all its glory in Pune. While IMD had forecasted arrival of Monsoons in Pune much earlier, but keeping in lines with their earlier predictions, this forecast failed by some mammoth margin and our waits grew longer. However, this week Punekars were in for some respite. Monsoon rains in Pune are mostly very gentle. It’s a pleasant drizzle all the time hardly lashing the city. It is in no means as lashing and brutal as witnessed in Mumbai. This week, we were witness to a phenomenon called ‘mini-cloudburst’ which means a rainfall of >50mm but <100mm within an hour. Leaving aside the inconvenience caused in form of waterlogged roads and traffic snarls which are witnessed in every Indian metro city despite the month of planning by the city corporation to avert the crisis, I look forward to this season of the year with much excitement. The reason for this admiration are quite a few.
We position our chairs in our balcony where we listen to the symphony of sounds created by the raindrops striking different objects around. We watch endlessly the concrete roads getting transformed into a steady stream of rivulets that flows silently and has a calming effect on my mind. Monsoons also bring with it a whole host of dishes that are best enjoyed during rains. pakodas and hot masala chai being my utmost favorite. However, this time I had tons of Potatoes lying in my pantry and I wanted to try something different. At such times, my books come to my rescue. I have countless cookbooks in my bookshelf that I have purchased during my visits to different fairs, different cities and purchase some online. While some of these books are from renowned authors, a host of these are from smaller publications authored by lesser known individuals. However, they know their food well. Each of these books focus centrally on a theme or a Cuisine or an ingredient. One such book that I have in my bookshelf is about ‘Potato Preparations’ and the recipe that caught my attention was Potato Pancakes.
I have known about Potato Pancakes from my culinary institute days and reading about it again brought back those memories. Potato Pancake has a Jewish history associated to it and it is one of the important preparations made during the 8 days Hanukkah festivities. Potato Pancakes is one of those dishes that has travelled across the globe, has been a part of several Cuisines.
As it entered Indian culinary landscape, it went a great overhaul in form of developing its vegetarian counter-part by omitting eggs and replacing it with Gram flour. However, to establish firmly our ingenuity we decided to rename the entire dish. Some clever blogger putting his smart brain to work renamed Potato Pancake to Aloo Ka Cheela.
Jews must have squirmed uneasily hearing about the Indian name of their popular holiday food much like we did when quite recently Buzz feed decided to call Gulab-Jamun as ‘Indian fried Doughnut’.
I am not much averse to idea of picking up a dish and modifying it by adding local and seasonal ingredients to suit the local cuisine but the idea of ‘Anglifying’ or ‘Indianising’ its name is beyond me.
In this post, we have demonstrated making authentic Potato Pancakes and have also showed its pure veg counter-part. You must let the batter rest for few mins before frying the pancakes. The batter can be shaped into pancakes by gently pressing with the back of the spoon directly on the Tawa and is cooked until it becomes crisp and light brown in color from both sides.
Let’s go through the recipe now.
- 2 Large=300gms Potatoes-peeled and washed
- 1 small=60gms Onions-chopped
- 2 tbsp Plain Flour
- 1 Egg
- 2 Green Chilies-chopped
- 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander Leaves-chopped
- Cooking Oil
- 2-3 tbsp Gram Flour (Only for Veg Pancakes)
- Grate Potatoes with a large hole size grater. Submerge grated Potatoes in a bowl of iced water. This prevents Potatoes from turning black and we can get rid of starch. Keep the Potatoes aside for 5 mins
- Strain the Potatoes with a strainer. Removing excess starch makes Pancakes crispier.
- We will now make Pancake batter (with egg)- In a large bowl, add grated and strained potatoes. Add chopped Onions, chopped Chilies and chopped Coriander leaves, Plain flour, Salt to taste and 1 whole Egg and mix well.
- Keep the batter aside. Let's make batter for Pure Vegetarian Pancakes
- For Veg Pancakes-In a bowl, put grated and strained Potatoes. Add chopped Onions, chopped Chilies, chopped Coriander Leaves, Plain Flour, Salt to taste and 3 tbsp Gram flour and mix well.
- Veg batter is ready. Cover and keep it aside for 10 mins. Let's make Pancakes with the other batter (with Eggs)
- Heat a nonstick Pan. Smear the Pan with 1 tbsp Oil. When Oil gets hot, pour 1-2 spoonful of batter on the Pan. Lower the heat when you the pour the batter on Pan. Gently press with a spoon to make the Pancakes even in thickness. Cook on low heat
- We have cooked underside for 1 min 30 seconds and edges have become brown in color. Change the sides. Cook until Pancakes become light brown in color from both sides. When the underside gets cooked, remove Pancakes from the Pan
- Similarly, make Veg Pancakes
- In this measurements, we can make 6-8 Potato Pancakes. You can still save on your time by refrigerating the batter a day before and making the Pancakes next day.
Click to watch recipe video