Spices and Seasons – Tested and Tried the MIL’s Crisp Potato Cakes


In our house, the husband would probably like to place potatoes in he list of processed starches. Of course, I like to tell him that this is mostly because he does not grow potatoes. His reason for this crime is that our tiny little backyard is not big enough for all the potatoes I would like. This folks is true, I LOVE my spuds, in all their comforting glory. I like them sauteed, roasted, baked and of course, fried.  This time of the year is the season of roots, starting of course with potatoes.

I shall share with you a simple and really good recipe, for Alu Tikki or Indian Style Crisp Potato Cakes. There are many ways to make these rather simple and exceedingly delectable potato cakes, this recipe is my mother in law’s. She has a key ingredient and a fairly strict rule of thumb, the key ingredient is what is called amchoor or dried and powdered green mangoes. I realize, that this picture looks nothing like the green and hard fresh fruit and her rule of thumb is no additional binding.

Amchoor is prepared by slicing the the green mango, drying out the slices and them powdering it. This is essentially a souring agent, in the same vien as the tamarind, lime juice and stuff. The amchoor however has a gentler and more flavorful taste and more importantly it is a powder, this makes it very effective in stuffing thing or for dry rubs and yes, it is also very important in the recipe for these potato cakes or alu tikki. The deal here is while my MIL forgives my use of cilantro in the recipe, that too, if I finely mince the herb (and of course since her son likes it), she absolutely forbids any kind of binding. So this is all about potatoes, spices and a lusciously crisp crust. So, who said indugence could not be vegan and gluten-free.

The potatoes, that work to accomplish this effect are good russet potatoes. The Idaho potatoes, somehow do not seem to work, possibly the starch balance. This simple recipe in my mind does much to highlight the simple nuances of spices and of course the simple and amazing goodness of Indian cooking.

While the three in size is perfect for regular snacking, you can make them smaller if you wish

Alu Tikki - Well Spiced Crisp Potato Cakes


  • 5 medium sized russet potatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon amchoor or dried mango powder (if you do not have this around, add in 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice and add in 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour to the potato binding)
  • 11/2 teaspoons cumin coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • Oil for frying


  1. 1. Cut the russet potatoes and boil them in their jackets for about 15 minutes until they are soft but not mushy.
  2. 2. Drain them in a colander and cool.
  3. 3. Peel the potatoes and mash with the salt, cayenne, amchoor, cilantro.
  4. 4. Shape into cakes and let them rest in the refrigerator.
  5. 5. Heal the oil in a wide bottomed wok and when they are well heated, add the cakes about 4 at a time, they should have enough room to cook without crowding each other.
  6. 6. Let them cook for about 4 minutes, undisturbed until a nice and crisp crust is formed. Turn the cakes and cook on the other side until well crisped.
  7. 7. Drain on paper towels and serve.

Rinku Bhattacharya is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and has found her classes a great way to teach and learn.

Her newly released cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, highlights and offers many simple recipes from Eastern India. Rinku can be found on facebook, twitter and pinterest.



About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.

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