Aloo Bonda /Batata Vada

After the scorching summer we had here, the weather has taken a U turn and turned into a mild, pleasant one, reminiscent of the autumn season. Added to this it got cloudy and we had some drizzle over the weekend making it even cooler. There is something about the rain that gives me that cozy, nostalgic feeling. And on days like this, I cannot think of a better way to spend the day than to indulge in some crispy deep fried stuff. The most common deep fried stuff I resort to are these fritters/bhajjis or medu vada. But this time I decided to go for a change and made these deep fried potato vada, called Batata Vada.

 Batata Vada is a popular street food in India, literally called Potato fritters is a deep fried indulgence. Even though this originated in Maharashtra, it is popular all over India and is called as Aloo Bonda in South India. It consists of a spicy potato balls which is then dipped in chick pea flour and then deep-fried. This is usually served with different chutneys along with sautéed green chillies. 

There are many steps for making this dish, but once you get a hang of it, you can organize the process and make it in an efficient manner. This is served as appetizer, an evening snack or when served as Vada Paav which can be indulgent meal in itself. 

Ingredients for the potato stuffing: 

  • 3 big potatoes ( boiled, peeled and mashed)
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1Tbsp ( green chilli+ garlic+ ginger ) coarse paste
  • 3-4 strands coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Salt to taste 


  • Wash the potatoes, chop them into halves and pressure cook them along with the skin.
  • After it has cooled, peel the skin, mash it in a plate and keep aside. It is alright if there are some lumps in the cooked potato.
  • Take a pan and heat oil. Add the curry leaves and the coarse green chilli garlic paste and cook until the garlic turns light brown.
  • Add the mashed potato, turmeric powder, salt and cook until everything is mixed.
  • Cover with lid and let it cook on simmer. Add the chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice, stir well. Keep aside.

Batter/ coating for the vada: 

  • 1/2 cup gram flour (besan)
  • 1 Tbsp rice flour
  • 1tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Salt to taste


  • Take a bowl and mix all the above ingredients well. The gram flour may have some lumps, so be sure to break them apart.
  • Add water to this mixture in intervals and mixing it well until it becomes a smooth paste.
  • Note: The consistency of the batter is important, so make sure that it is not too thick or thin. Keep aside.

 Making Vada/Bonda: 

  • Heat sufficient oil in a pan for deep frying.
  • In the meanwhile make small balls ( 2-3 inch diameter) from the stuffing that was made before.
  • After the oil is hot, take a stuffing ball; dip the ball into the batter and drop it into the hot oil. Fry it and then turn it around until it gets light golden brown color.
  • Transfer it to a paper towel. Continue the process with the remaining stuffing and make the Aloo Bondas. 

Serve hot (very) with Tomato ketchup or Green chutney or Tamarind Chutney or as is or as Vada Paav (recipe coming up next!).

Banana Sooji Halwa/Sheera/ Balehannu Sajjige

Wishing all readers a happy and blessed festival of Navarathri.

This Banana Semolina pudding or halwa or sheera is one of the easiest Indian sweet dishes that I know of. Although it involves three different processes, all made simultaneously it comes together in no time. If I need to make something quick for a pooja neivedya then I either resort to preparing this or the Sweet Poha. This recipe is also a good way to use up any overripe bananas.

This Sheera or the plain one (without any fruits) is usually prepared during SatyaNarayana Pooja and offered as Prasad. While preparing this please be sure to be liberal with the Ghee, otherwise the Halwa might have a dry taste. That said, do not overindulge in ghee, otherwise it will end up being greasy. Using oil as substitute for ghee might not have the desired taste.

Even though I am a huge fan of using cardamom and saffron (kesari) in Indian desserts, I do not use them here. I feel that way just the flavors of the cooked banana and ghee will be able to stand out, instead of the powering taste of the cardamom.

If you want, you can substitute pineapple or mango pulp instead of the mashed banana for a different fruity take on this Indian semolina pudding.


  • 1 cup Rava/Semolina/Sooji (fine)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 2 medium ripe bananas (peeled & mashed)
  • Handful of raisins, cashews (broken into pieces)


  • Boil the water and milk together in a sauce pan/vessel.
  • While this is boiling in another big pan roast the Rava/ Sooji/Semolina on medium flame in 2 Tbsp of Ghee until it turns nutty and light brown. At this time there will be a heavenly toasted aroma of semolina waffling through.
  • Add in the sugar to the roasted rava and stir well.
  • Add the boiled milk and water to this in batches, while stirring the roasted rava/semolina continuously.
  • After a while the liquid gets completely absorbed and the rava/semolina plumps up.
  • Add the mashed banana to this semolina mixture and mix well.
  • Now add the remaining ghee and stir making sure it does not stick to the bottom.
  • Fry the raisins and cashews in about 2 tsp of ghee. Make sure the raisins plump up and the cashews obtain light brown color.
  • Add this toasted raisin and cashew to the freshly prepared halwa. Serve warm.

Indian Flat Beans Curry/ Chaprada Avere Palya/ Papdi ki Sabzi

Indian Flat beans are referred to as chapparada avare in Kannada and as Chikkudu kaya in Telugu, Val papdi in Guajarati. In Bangalore where I grew up, these beans were readily available and my mom used to prepare it often. But here in the US they are not readily available and had almost forgotten about it.

However few weeks ago a good friend of mine got a bagful of beans for us and so I got an opportunity to prepare this dish. The combination of this curry along with tomato rasam, yogurt rice forms a comforting meal. This dry curry also pairs well with daal rice and or rotis/chapathis.

When you buy fresh beans get tenders ones. Also make sure that a proper inspection is done while cleaning and chopping the beans as worms tend to get inside the beans. That is indicated by the brown discoloration on the outside, so make sure you do not pick them.


  • 3 cups of chopped flat beans/val papdi
  • ½ cup lilva beans (or lima beans )
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic pods (crushed)
  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 3-4 Curry leaves
  • ½ Cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves (garnish)


  • (Note: Make sure the flat beans are thoroughly washed and the edges and strings of the beans are removed. After that cut each one into 2-3 pieces using knife. Note: You can pre-cook the flat beans separately in a pot of water along with salt. That way this sabji can be made quickly.
  • Take a big flat bottom pan; heat about 1 Tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add the curry leaves, jeera/cumin seeds and mix until it turns light brown.
  • Add the urad daal and stir until it turns light brown.
  • Add the crushed garlic cook until it browns; add diced onions and sauté until it softens.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add the chopped flat beans and stir until it mixes with the onions and seasoning.
  • Sprinkle some water, stir in between making sure it does not stick to the bottom.
  • Add salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder and mix well. Add about 1/2 cup of water and stir again.
  • Cover with lid and let it cook on simmer, stir in between. Switch off when the beans are cooked (has bite to it, but not over cooked).
  • Finally add chopped coriander for garnish and mix. Serve hot with rice/rotis.