The Big Boys Curry Book

Batata Wada

These wild elephants appeared briefly one evening

Classic road-side snack that deserves space on the table; this is a recipe given to me by my good friend Shilpa Kotecha, a marvelous vegetarian cook. I had been to South India and came across these Wadas (or Bonda) in several places from roadside shacks to posh Tamil restaurants. So I described them to her and asked what they were. With a sly grin on her face she went home and produced this recipe the next day. In a slight variation of my own, I use a fork to mash the potatoes rather than a masher to produce a courser, lumpy texture to them. You can eat them hot or cold. Serve with a Alle Chutney, Ginger Chutney[/rcp], [rcp bbcb=1]Phudina Relish, Fresh Mint Relish[/rcp], [rcp bbcb=1]Fresh Coriander Relish, Dhania Patha Relish[/rcp], or simple Heinz tomato ketchup!Try them with a [rcp bbcb=1]Patia Sauce or if eating them hot as a main course in a vegetarian meal.These are an absolute favourite with my two younger boys to the extent that I can put almost anything else in front of them as long as there is Wada. It's how I got them eating vegetarian food to ring the changes.


  • 4 medium potatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 pinches asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ginger puree
  • 2 tbsp. grated onion
  • 1 clove garlic chopped very fine.
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 1 cup of Besan flour
  • 1/2 tsp. fruit salts (e.g. Andrews, Enos)
  • Handful chopped fresh coriander.
  • Oil for deep frying.


  1. Boil or steam potatoes, skins on, and allow to cool.
  2. Remove and discard skin and coursely mash with a fork
  3. Add salt, chilli powder, sugar, pinch asafoetida, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, lemon juice, ginger puree, onion and garlic to potato and mix.
  4. Sieve Besan into a mixing bowl and add some salt, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, pinch asafoetida and coriander leaves. Using cold water beat to a medium thickish consistency.
  5. Heat oil and form potato mix into round balls about the size of a lime.
  6. As oil is coming to up to heat add fruit salt to batter mix. Allow to react for 1 minute.
  7. Dip each potato ball in turn into batter mix and put in oil to fry. Allow oil to reheat before placing next wada in oil and do not overcrowd. Keep Wada moving so that they cook evenly. Wada are cooked when batter is golden brown.
  8. Drain and serve hot or leave to cool.

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