While we enjoy the initial spell of showers, we also get busy finding excuses to binge on our favourite fried foods. If the Northern part of the country is relishing monsoon-favourite snacks like pakodas and bhajiyas with a cup of tea, the Southern half is seems to be a fan of their own regional favourite – Bonda. A popular tea time snack, Bonda is a deep fried delicacy popular across Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Traditionally, the process of making a bonda involves a spicy potato filling dipped in a gram flour (besan), or all-purpose flour(maida) batter and then fried golden. What distinguishes it from pakodas is the way it is prepared. Pakodas typically involves dipping the chopped vegetables directly in the batter and deep frying till cooked. For Bondas, potatoes are boiled and mashed with salt, chillies, peppers, curry leaves and then the mixture is dipped in batter and deep fried. In that sense, the Batata Vada of Maharastra and Bihari Aloo Chaap can be seen as a close cousins of the Aloo Bonda. The crispy snack is mostly served coriander or mint chutney.
Chef Sadaf Hussain of Master Chef India 2016 says, “In south, some of them also add rice flour in the batter, if you go North ways, it may or may not be added.”
The most popular variety is the Aloo Bonda, but it is also prepared with other ingredients. In Kerala, a sweet version known as ‘Sugiyan’ is quite popular. Amongst the savoury versions, Tapioca Bonda, Sweet Potato Bonda, Egg Bonda and Masala Minced Meat Bonda are also some of the famous preparations. Mixed vegetable bonda is usually made with peas, and finely chopped vegetables like carrots and beans.
In his book,’The Story of our Food’, Nutrionist and Food Historian K.T Acharya shares that the bonda has been a favourite fried snack across Karnataka’s food map since the 12th century A.D . His book reveals that the earliest recipe documentation of the dish can be seen in a book compiled by Someshvara, who ruled Karnataka back in 1130 AD. He writes, “It is in this book, that the idliis recorded by its Sanskrit name, iddarika. There are descriptions also of the dosaka(dosa), vataka(vada), ksiravta(dahi vada), gharaka( an urad dal vada ), vatika (wadiyan made from fermented red dhal paste), purika(small crisp papdi), and parika (bonda).”In another book of his, ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’, he also shares how over the years other snacks may have transformed but the bonda remains the same.
Here’s a quick recipe of Aloo Bonda to add to your list of monsoon cravings.
Aloo Bonda Recipe By Niru Gupta
Ingredients Of Aloo Bonda
- 500 gm potatoes-boiled, peeled and cubed
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 tsp thymol seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 tsp rock salt
- 2 green chillies-chopped fine
- 2 Tbsp coriander leaves-chopped
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Oil for deep frying
- For the batter:
- 1 cup singhare ka atta
- 2 tsp rock salt
How to Make Aloo Bonda
1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil, add thymol seeds and curry leaves, saute over high flame till they darken a bit.
2. Add potatoes and turn around till well mixed.
3. Remove pan from flame, add salt, chillies, coriander leaves and lemon juice.
4. When cool enough to handle, shape mixture into walnut sized balls.
5. For the batter, mix the atta and salt together, add enough water to make into a batter.
6. Then heat the oil, till the point where a drop of batter comes up at once.
7. Dip potato balls into the batter and drop into the hot oil.
8. Fry to a light brown, remove from oil and drain on absorbent paper.