This widely loved snack in India, which is famed in Mumbai as batata vada, is customarily sold in a soft bun with a garlic and chilli chutney. Its popularity has spread and it’s now available in many Indian restaurants worldwide. Where I come from, these delicious potato balls are called alu banda and are sold in small shops and street stalls in the mornings for breakfast with chai. So why not serve this with some Coriander Peanut Chutney and piping hot masala chai? 

Makes 8


  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) pieces

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, plus extra for deep-frying

    chetna 30 minute indian book cover Chetna's 30 Minute Indian Chetna Makan
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped

  • 10 fresh curry leaves, finely chopped

  • ½  teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • ½  teaspoon salt

  • ½  teaspoon chilli powder

  • ½  teaspoon ground turmeric 

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 30g (1oz) Cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes

For the batter

  • 100g (3 ½ oz) gram flour (besan/chickpea flour)

  • ½  teaspoon salt

  • ½  teaspoon chilli powder

  • ½  teaspoon ground turmeric 

  • about 120ml (8 tablespoons) water


Put the potato pieces in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside. 

Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the green chilli, curry leaves and mustard seeds. Once they start to sizzle, stir in the salt and ground spices and cook over a low heat for a few seconds. Add the measured water and the cooked potatoes and mix well, then leave to cool while you make the batter.

Mix together all the batter ingredients except the water in a bowl. Then gradually whisk in enough of the water to make a smooth batter with a coating consistency. 

Divide the potato mixture into 8 portions and form each into a ball about the size of a lime. Push a cube
of cheese into the centre of each potato ball and mould the potato mixture back around it to seal it in. 

Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer or deep, heavy-based pan (ensuring the pan is no more than one-third full) to 180°C (350°F). Line a plate with kitchen paper. Dip one potato ball at a time into the batter and then carefully add to the hot oil. Deep-fry,
in small batches, for a minute on each side until golden. Transfer to the paper-lined plate to absorb the excess oil while you fry the remaining balls. Serve warm. 

 Chetna’s 30 Minute Indian by Chetna Makan, Mitchell Beazley 2021

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