Aloo Tikki Egg Bennys
Indian Potato Cake Benedicts
Active time: 45 minutes
Inactive time: 45 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes
This recipe came about after Bren and I hosted our first Thanksgiving around a real honest-to-goodness dinner table. We felt like real grown-ups. Until then, we’d had to balance dishes of food on the coffee table, kitchen counters and even the TV! Our friend Karen, a big fan of mashed potatoes, made enough to feed all the Pilgrims, and so I came up with this Aloo Tikki Eggs Benny recipe the next morning to help us make a dent in them. I served them with the Ruby Red Chutney I’d made out of cranberries the day before, but you can also serve it with a big dollop of ketchup and the hot sauce of your choice.
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 small Serrano peppers, seeds removed, minced
Generous handful of cilantro leaves and soft stems, roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup) + extra for garnish
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Zest of two small limes
Juice of one lime (about 2 tbsp)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup cornstarch
Sunflower oil for frying
1 cup cornmeal
Ruby-red chutney (see recipe in my cook book), date-tamarind chutney (see recipe in my cook book) or store-bought tamarind chutney to serve
Cook potatoes: Drop potato cubes into a medium saucepan, and cover with lots of cold water. Season generously with salt and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Drain in a colander, and allow to cool so you can handle them with your bare hands.
Once cool, mash potatoes either with a potato ricer, food mill or as a last resort, a masher (the latter results in a heavier potato cake) into a large bowl.
Gently fold in remaining ingredients except for cornmeal. Taste for seasoning, and add extra salt and pepper as necessary. Divide into 8 portions, about 1/3 cup each. Roll a portion between your palms into a ball, then squash into a little cake of equal thickness (about ¾” thick). Repeat with the rest of the portions.
Pour cornmeal into a flat bowl or pie plate, and season well with salt and pepper. Dip each cake into cornmeal, coating each side evenly. Chill cakes for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a rack on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and set aside. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, pour oil to a ¼” depth.
When oil is hot (check by dropping a pinch of cornmeal into oil; if it sizzles immediately, it’s ready), carefully add 4 cakes to the pan. Cook until deep golden brown, about 4-5 minutes, then flip carefully (I’ll sometimes use two spatulas for this job), and cook another 4-5 minutes. Remove, using fish spatula to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and slide into the oven to keep warm. Scoop out and any crumbs from the oil and repeat with the remaining 4 cakes.
To fry eggs: pour off oil, and wipe out skillet. Turn heat to low. Add a tablespoon of oil, swirl around pan and then add eggs. They should crackle gently. Season with salt and pepper, then cover, cooking 3 minutes for that perfect spot between runny and firm.
Serve an egg over two tikkis (cakes), with a squeeze of lime, a flourish of cilantro and a couple of dollops of ruby red chutney or tamarind chutney.