With cloudy skies and humidity being at its highest, the rains are expected any day now according to the Mumbai Met department…the first showers brings with it the perfume of wet earth that makes the entire city alive – the trees are washed clean of the summery dust and regain their green splendour, the young and old play in the little puddles that line the streets, kids find it exciting to go to school in their new gumboots and colourful raincoats. Like one of those many things that makes this city unique, the rains in Mumbai are much awaited by one and all…eating freshly roasted corn cobs by the seaside with a squeeze of lemon dipped in chilli that make me sizzle, walking in the rain despite carrying a brolly, splashing on puddles are few of my favourite things to do in this season.
Another thing that the entire city gets excited, is coming home after work to a steaming cup of chai ( tea) and their favourite hot fried snack..and the operating word being ‘fried’. Somehow monsoon and fried snacks go hand in hand: be it spicy samosas, hot wadas, onion bhajis…most homes will have one of these ready to enjoy with the entire family in the evenings while it pitter patters outside. If my memory serves me right, Potato Bread Rolls used to be one of my favourite snacks as a little girl…my mom would keep these crispy golden delights ready to fill our tummies when my brother and I would rush home from school. Over the years, these became rarer as we got conscious of the amount of carbs and fried stuff we consumed, so much so that this afternoon, my Mom and I struggled to remember when we last made these babies.
The combination of mashed potatoes with gooey cheese laced with a touch of indian spices, stuffed in to a slice and bread and deep fried!!! Seriously, you cannot ask for a more indulgent vegetarian snacks that is so satisfying. Of course, it does mean an overdose of carbs but come on people! Once in while you deserve to indulge yourself. Sometimes, I truly feel that staying away and depriving our bodies from ‘unhealthy’ food is unhealthy. Our bodies need carbs, fat and sugar as much as they need protein, fiber and all the other fantastic vitamins and minerals.Long story short, it is perfectly okay to indulge yourself once in a while, exercise regularly and be happy!
I have stayed true to my Mom’s recipe except for the addition of cheese. You just cannot go wrong with pairing luscious potatoes and cheddar, can you! In fact, any cheese for that matter like gruyere in a ‘potato dauphinoise’, or a melting fontina with gnocchi…yum! I have used a mature cheddar to cut through the floury potatoes and one that would blend well with the spices. As you bite in to the super crispy golden crust, you will be hit with the melting goeeyiness ( is that a word?) of potatoes and cheese with the hint of chilli, garam masala and lemon cutting through the richness. The layer of textures and flavours is something quite unexpected and yet so easy to knock up. The best thing about this recipe is that unlike the complicated ones that call for flouring, egging, rolling in bread crumbs etc. this one is so much easier with the bread slice doing all the hard work, holding it all in without any spills and making it a winner for kid’s birthday parties with its wicked looks! So what are we waiting for? Surprise your families with this fantastic treat on a wet and windy day ( which could be any day now) in London or a snowy Sunday afternoon ( which is some time away) in New York to bring home some sunshine and enjoy well -deserved compliments!
- Large white bread slices – 10-12
- Oil to deep fry – 500 ml
- Cold milk – 4 tbsp /1 egg – Lightly whisked
- Shallow bowl of cold water
For the stuffing
- Boiled potatoes – 4-5, crumbled
- Onion – 1, fine chopped
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
- Green chillies – 2, finely chopped
- Fresh ginger – 1 tsp, finely chopped
- Fresh coriander – 2 tbsp, chopped
- Ground red chilli- 1 tsp
- Ground Coriander – 1 tsp
- Garam Masala – 1 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Lemon Juice – 2 tsp
- Cheddar Cheese – 4 tbsp, grated
- Salt to season
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan, and add in the chopped, ginger, chillies and stir for 30 seconds. Follow this with the chopped onions and stir fry till they are translucent. Toss in the ground spices, crumbled potatoes and salt and mix well. Cook in the pan for a couple of minutes and take off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and chopped coriander. Taste the mixture to make sure the flavours are well balanced and seasoned. Let the mixture cool;
- Trim off the crust from the bread slices. Take a slice of bread and briefly dip the edges in the bowl of cold water and press out all excess water. The idea is to dampen the bread which will make it easier to fold the slices and stick together. Place a teaspoon of the potato mixture in the centre of the slice like a sausage, make an indent in the centre and stuff a large pinch of grated cheese into the potato sausage. Brush the edges with egg wash or cold milk if you want to avoid egg. Now fold over the open edge of the slice over the potato – cheese mixture and ease it gently to meet the other edge such that it makes a nice roll or sausage shape. Pinch the shorter ends with egg wash to seal them;
- Repeat till you have as many rolls as required. At this stage, you can freeze them in ziplock bags for up to 2 weeks and fry them up when you have sudden guests whom you want to impress!
- So getting back to recipe heat up the oil in a shallow frying pan on a low to medium heat. The oil shouldn’t be smoking as that will burn the rolls too quickly. Slide 3-4 rolls carefully into the hot oil and using a slotted spoon, turn them gently so they turn a lovely golden brown evenly. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot with a mint sauce. If you want the recipe of the mint sauce, click here.
- Floury potatoes work best for this recipe. Once boiled and cooled, use a fork to gently break the potatoes into a chunky texture. I wouldn’t recommend using a masher or ricer, as you will end up with a mashed consistency which does not work well for this recipe;
- It is important to trim the crust off the bread which allows you to get an even texture on all four sides and helps with the rolling process;
- When dampening the edges of the bread, make sure you don’t soak each side in for more than 3-4 seconds, otherwise it will tend to break off;