Having never been to India, I will be honest, this recipe is all part of a daydreamy experience of what I imagine Indian street food to be like. I pieced together bits of stories from family and friends and my mind’s images from Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, to create a savory chaat experience. Chaat is the generic word for small savory dishes usually served roadside. These pancakes are a nod to aloo chaat, a potato street-cart dish usually found in the north of India. I made an easy cherry chutney, but really you can use any preserves you have. You can also serve this dish with my mint chutney if you would like a little heat, https://foodfilosofi.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/vegetable-biryani/.
This whole dish just fell out of the refrigerator and pantry. Tubers and peas are always winter staples and the chutney is a “use what you have” accoutrement. The warm, earthy spices are not overpowering but you immediately recognize India in there.
savory potato and pea pancake with a cherry chutney…
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 yellow onion, shredded
½ cup peas
2 tbs flour
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
large pinch of salt
1 tbs oil
1 tbs butter (or ghee if you are fancy)
2 heaping tbs cherry preserves
1 tbs rice vinegar
¼ cup roughly chopped red onion + 2 tbs extra
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground fresh ginger
small pinch of allspice
Prepare chutney in advance. In a small pot, over medium-low heat, add ¼ cup chopped red onion, vinegar, preserves, ginger, allspice, and salt. Cook until the onions soften. Remove from heat. Then purée in food processor or blender. Pulse extra 2 tbs of onion in processor until coarsely shredded, or chop finely, then add to chutney, raw.
Place shredded potatoes and onion in a salad spinner or strain by hand in a hand towel, making sure to get out as much water as possible. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, flour, spices, and salt. Whisk until well incorporated. Fold in potato/onion mixture, add peas. Make sure mixture is evenly coated. In a heavy pan over medium-high heat, add oil and butter. Scoop out handful sized portions, place into pan and flatten. Cook until crispy, 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Eat together, toast to each other, and share!