Friday, October 9, 2009

Ragda Pattice

Most people know Mumbai (or Bombay) in connection to either Finance or Bollywood. What is less known is the sheer plethora of completely scrumplicious street food on display. You could spend months there just eating those alone.

This recipe here is one of those delights that make you want to slap your mom in sheer glee!

Ragda Pattice (as traditionally spelt) clearly derived from Ragda Patties are fried mashed potato-disks (patties) topped with a lentil sauce (ragda) which you can then tailor to your taste by adding a variety of sauces - traditionally, at least three - a sweet-sour date-tamarind chutney, a cilantro chutney, and a fiery mint sauce. Also, the Indian love of raw onions mixed with lime and cilantro means these are added on top.

There is nothing subtle about this recipe. Both the date-tamarind chutney and the mint one have one of those over-the-top "hit-me-again" tastes.

The long list of ingredients and sauces may put you off but this is better suited to a party where the guests can mix-n-match whatever toppings they like for themselves.

You might see minor variations of this recipe on the web but if you see a recipe that calls for yogurt, it is bogus!

Clearly those people have never been to Mumbai. Yogurt in this dish is akin to mayonnaise in traditional Chinese food - an act of heresy which should be followed up by actually slapping that person's mom!

† just an expression, folks!



2 cups vatana (dried peas)
1 onion
1 piece ginger
3 green chillies
1/2 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp ground cumin seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp amchur (ground mango powder)
1 tsp ground red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt (to taste)


Soak the dried peas overnight. Cook in a pressure cooker or in 6-8 cups water until tender but not mushy.

Chop the onions, ginger, garlic in a food processor. Heat some oil, and fry the lot. Add the cooked dried peas along with the ground cumin-coriander mixture, and the chilli powder and the turmeric. Add some water if necessary. The mixture should just be slightly sloppy. Towards the end add the garam masala and the amchur.

You can cook this ahead of time. It actually improves overnight.



4 potatoes


Boil the potatoes in salted water. Peel and mash. Mix with your hands to get a smooth-ish mixture. Do NOT add extra water. The mixture should be shapeable by hand.

Make into disks and pan-fry. The CC has also had great success with brushing them with oil on both sides and baking them in a 450°F oven for 45 minutes, flipping them half-way. (The latter method is clearly the scalable one!)

A modest advice to the baking-kind. Poke a few fork-pricks in the patties to release moisture. That's what frying does. Nobody will notice the pricks but the lot will cook faster. (Shocking how basic science manifests itself in food!)

Date-Tamarind Chutney


6 tamarind pods (de-seeded)
12-14 dates (coarsely chopped)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground red chilli powder
1 tsp black salt (kala namak)


The black salt is absolutely indispensable. Without it, you will simply not get the tang that is this chutney!

Blend all the stuff with water in a blender into a sauce which is easily pourable. Use less water initially; you can always dilute it later.

This is also the only one of the three chutneys that can be successfully frozen to no detriment.

Cilantro Chutney


2 bunches cilantro
4 green chillies
1/4 cup peanuts


Blend in a blender.

Mint Chutney


2 cups mint
8 green chillies
1/8 cup peanuts


Blend in a blender. This chutney is noticeably thinner than the previous one. Also, packs a lot more fiery punch!

Onion Mixture


1 red onion (finely diced)
2 limes juiced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro


Mix. What else?

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