Indian Style Sweet Potato Latkes


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Indian Style Sweet Potato Latkes

Indian Style Sweet Potato Latkes

Last week I celebrated 17 years of living in the United States. I took a moment to reflect on my journey from a naïve, innocent and unworldly young woman who had just graduated from college to my life now as a wife, mother, daughter  and, I hope, relatively decent professional working in the field of education. I don’t think I would change anything…good and bad….they’ve all been the incidents that have made me what I am today!!! Now that I’ve finished with my little piece of introspection, let’s move onto food…shall we?? When I first moved here, I was amazed to see that they had a whole channel dedicated to food!!! Even though the shows mainly featured traditional American foods and a whole lot of meat and potatoes, I was hooked! There were a few Latin food shows and once in a while there would be a show featuring Padma from Top Chef. Food blogs were not yet a thing!!! I sound so old. ……but this just shows how fast things change!!!

Anyway, when spicy foods began featuring on shows more and more cuisines around the world became more accessible, I was addicted!!! Then while watching Food Network star I saw Aarti Sequeira and I was impressed…here was a woman who was doing exactly what I was doing…fusing Indian food and the spices I use everyday with other cuisines and integrating to everyday life in America. One day I succumbed and bought her cookbook. That’s where I came across this recipe…. Indian Style Sweet Potato Latkes. I’ve always been fascinated with Latkes…as a cuisine we use a lot of potatoes in many different ways and I’ve always thought that there would never be a potato preparation that I would not like………I didn’t like latkes. I think it was the fact that there was no spice and it’s served with applesauce, which I am not a fan off, sealed the deal!!! Her recipe, which I initially
rejected, …has spices and sweet potatoes, which I like, and it’s a riff of the Indian version of tempura..Pakoras. I can never leave anything alone so I of course tweaked it further to suit my family’s needs but I will now eat latkes if its anything like these!!!

Shredded sweet potatoes with sweet red onions, earthy ginger, aromatic cardamom, a hint of anise with fennel seeds and fresh cilantro…my mouth waters when I think about it. Turmeric gives it a bright hue while cayenne gives it heat and chickpea flour gives it a nuttiness that takes me back to eating pakoras on a rainy afternoon in India with a hot cup of tea, talking to my mom, dad and sis. Simple days and simple pleasures, which I treasure! I served it with Greek yogurt, green chutney and tamarind chutney ala chaat
….delicious roadside eats found in food carts on every corner in India. Smallest A, however, loved his with ketchup….yes, ketchup, albeit s a spicy one. …apparently ,we Indians cannot even ketchup alone!!!

Indian Style Sweet Potato Latkes

Indian Style Sweet Potato Latkes

1 medium size sweet potato peeled and shredded

½ cup thinly sliced red onion

4-5 cardamom pods, seeded removed and crushed

½ tsp. fennel seeds

½  tsp. cayenne, depending upon taste

¼ tsp. turmeric

2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

1 Thai green chilli minced

¼ cup cilantro finely chopped

Salt to taste

1 – 1 ½ cups chickpea flour

Oil, for frying

Greek Yogurt, for serving

Green chutney, for serving

Tamarind chutney, for serving

Before you peel and shred the sweet potatoes, slice the red onions,
place in a strainer and place in a bowl filled with water and ice cubes, 
for 15 minutes.This removes the astringency of the onions and leaves 
them sweet and flavorful.

Place the shredded potatoes in cheesecloth over a bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 5 minutes.

Drain and add the onions to the potatoes. Squeeze the bundle over the 
sink,removing as much excess liquid as you can.

Transfer to a bowl. Add cardamom, fennel seeds, turmeric, cayenne, 
ginger,green chilli, cilantro and chickpea flour. Mix well.

Add just enough water to bind it together.I usually use sparkling water 
as it makes an airy batter but plain water works just as well.

Heat a skillet over medium heat with a ¼ inch layer of oil.

Preheat the oven to 200F to keep latkes warm.

Using an ice cream scoop, mound the potatoes onto the skillet. Lightly 
flatten using a spatula. Leave plenty of room between the latkes.

Fry till the first side is golden brown. Turn them over and flatten 
slightly again. Fry till second side is golden brown.

Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven. Repeat using remaining 

Serve warm with yogurt and the chutneys.




“East meets West” Veggie Sloppy Joe


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I’m back…not that I went away or was doing anything fun…nope, like all normal mortals I went out and got a job!!! Adjusting took way longer than expected, but hopefully now that I’m settled, my family can go back to eating the way they were formerly used too!!!

When I was growing up, US was this place that everyone dreamed of going to, the pinnacle if you will!! All the shows featured things that to me were quintessentially American, at least to my young eyes…burgers, French fries, pizza, Cola and sloppy joes. I have always wanted to make them. …well eat them then!!!! I have made my versions of burgers, fries and pizza. I have also drunk more soda than I care to admit and have pleasantly found that I can live without it quite comfortably!!! The one dish that I have never attempted is the Sloppy Joe….I would love to give you a truly compelling reason as to why not but don’t have any!!!!

We recently got our kitchen cabinets renovated and for this I had to empty my kitchen….that’s a whole story in itself…picture this, summer vacation, three kids and all their friends traipsing in and out, entire kitchen sealed and blocked off, no dishwasher or stove, a borrowed microwave and entire kitchen in the dining room, lets not forget tripping over a skillet…sounds wonderful doesn’t it ?? Anyway, while moving everything back, I decided to take the opportunity and clean as I arrange…while arranging my cookbooks, I found notes on a recipe I had come up with for a sloppy joe. I was inspired by a recipe from Rachel Ray.

It’s a simple recipe…dont be alarmed by the number of indgredients…..I always seems to have a lot of indgredients…hmmm, need to work on that!!! Most are things you have at home. Sounds delicious doesnt it……meaty, earthy black beans sautéed with sweet, caramelized red onions and garlic, red chili flakes,warm spices, sweet and tangy tomatoes, all somehow enhanced by the color the peppers bring in!!! I served it on a simple burger bun, topped with pickled jalapenos and a simple slaw tossed with lime juice, salt and pepper. I’m calling it the “ East meets West “ Sloppy Joe as I combined Asian, Indian, Mexican and American ingredients.

It tastes divine….the beans provide the buttery …for the lack of a better word, bulk/meat, while the tomatoes, corn and sugar give it a hint of sweetness. The warm spices give it that exotic flair while chili flakes and jalapeno add a kick!!! The slaw gives it crunch ….so important to have different textures isn’t it? I love the umami flavor that soy adds….quite unlike any other and the pickled jalapeno and chaat masala give it a tang that takes it over the edge!!!!

“ East meet West “ Sloppy Joe

2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup finely chopped Red, Yellow and Green Bell Peppers

¼ cup frozen Corn

2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1 small Red Onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. Coriander powder

1 tsp. Cumin powder

½ -1 tsp. Red chili flakes

½ tsp. Chaat Masala

Salt to taste

¼ cup crushed Tomatoes

2 tsp. Brown Sugar

2 tbsp. Soy Sauce

Juice of 2 Limes

½ cup shredded Cabbage

¼ cup shredded Carrots

1 tsp. Sesame Oil

4 Burger Buns, split in half

Pickled Jalapenos for garnish

Cilantro for garnish

In a tbsp. of oil, sauté the onions and garlic on low heat until softened and slightly caramelized, 8-9 minutes.

Now add the jalapenos, corn and peppers and sauté for a further 5 minutes.

Add the coriander pwd, cumin pwd, chili flakes and salt. Sauté for 30 seconds.

Add the black beans and salt. Sauté for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, soy sauce and juice of 1 lime. Simmer for 6-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the cabbage and carrots with the juice of 1 lime, salt, pepper and sesame oil. Chill till needed.

To serve, toast the buns lightly so that it does not become too soggy.

Top with black bean mixture, then place a few slices of pickled jalapeno, then sprinkle the chaat masala lightly and top with the slaw and the other half of the bun.

Note: Chaat Masala is a mixture of Indian spices that has both a salty and tangy flavor. It consists mainly of dried mango pwd, coriander pwd, cumin pwd, black salt etc. Its widely available in Indian stores.

This is off to ” Meat Free Mondays “ at Tinned Toamtoes and ” Recipe of the Week “ at A Mummy too.