Aloo Tikki Egg Bennys (Indian Potato Cakes Benedict)
Excerpted from AARTI PAARTI by Aarti Sequeira.
Copyright © 2014 by Aarti Sequeira. Used with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
Makes 4 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
INACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 90 minutes
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 small serrano chiles, seeded and minced
Generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves and soft stems, roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup), plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Zest of 2 small limes
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cornmeal, for coating
Sunflower oil, for frying
4 large eggs
Ruby Red Chutney (page 60), Date-Tamarind Chutney (page 59), or store-bought tamarind chutney, for serving
1. Drop the potato cubes into a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover. Season the water generously with salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Drain in a colander and allow to cool until you can handle them with your bare hands.
2. Once cool, run the potatoes through a potato ricer or a food mill into a large bowl, or, as a last resort, mash them in the bowl with a potato masher (this results in a heavier potato cake).
3. Gently fold in the ginger, chiles, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, lime zest, lime juice, cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of salt, and pepper to taste. Taste and add extra salt and pepper as necessary.
4. Pour the cornmeal onto a flat bowl or pie plate, and season it well with salt and pepper.
5. Divide the potato mixture into 8 portions, about 1/3 cup each. Roll a portion between your palms into a ball, then squash it into a little cake of even thickness (about ¾ inch thick). Dip the cake into the cornmeal, coating both sides evenly, and set the coated cake on a platter. Repeat with the remaining portions of the potato mixture. Chill the cakes in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes to firm them up.
6. While the tikkis (potato cakes) are chilling, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set a rack on top.
7. Pour oil into a large nonstick skillet to a depth of ¼ inch and set it over medium-high heat. Check the temperature of the oil by dropping in a pinch of cornmeal; if it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready.
8. Carefully slide 4 cakes into the pan (be careful not to crowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will drop). Cook until deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes, then carefully flip them (I’ll sometimes use two spatulas for this job), and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. Use a fish spatula to transfer the fried cakes to the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt, and slide them into the oven to keep warm. Scoop out any crumbs from the oil and repeat with the remaining 4 cakes.
9. Pour off any oil remaining in the skillet and wipe out the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Add a tablespoon of oil and swirl the pan to coat. Wait a few seconds for the oil to heat up, then crack the eggs into the pan—they should crackle gently. Their edges may touch, but do not stir them together. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and cook for 3 minutes, for that perfect doneness between runny and firm.
10. Serve each egg over 2 tikkis (potato cakes), with a squeeze of lime, a flourish of cilantro and a couple of dollops of Ruby Red Chutney.