Ragda Pattice

Ragda Pattice

 

Indian English speakers are usually tempted to change the spelling of this voluptuous street snack — always spelled ‘pattice’ at eateries– to the more correct ‘patties.’ But I say why spoil a good thing by forcing on it unneeded refinement?

There’s nothing proper about this bold, tarty street snack from the swollen crush of Bombay’s streets. It is a hodge-podge of random flavors and textures that no cook in their right mind would dream of putting together. There’s sweet here and spicy and sour and salty. And then there’s creamy and crispy and crunchy and crumbly. The final result is lush genius on a plate.

In Bombay, you can buy Ragda Pattice at the open stalls and carts lining the city’s long beaches and eat it standing right there, your feet burrowing into the soft sand and the sea breeze whipping your hair into a salty tango. Or, if you’re worried about hygiene and all that annoying stuff that gets between a foodie and his/her indulgences, you can order it at one of the city’s restaurants.


When I lived in Bombay, one of our go-to places after work was Vithal’s, a restaurant in the maze-like Fort area. Vithal’s offered almost every snack invented by the ingenious food hawkers of the city’s streets, and although you were sitting in an air-conditioned room that sealed you off from the humidly oppressive heat, the raucous laughter and voices of people young and old at the tables around you could easily make you think you were actually out there.

I had one colleague who never ordered anything at Vithal’s but Ragda Pattice. She was that person who, although a vegetarian since birth, ate no vegetables other than potatoes (doesn’t everyone know someone like that?). And although I can’t think of a veggie I don’t love, I can easily see why Malathy was so obsessed with the mighty Ragda Pattice.

The pattice in Ragda Pattice are two flat patties made of nothing but boiled and mashed potatoes, salt and green chillies, which are then pan-fried to golden perfection. The patties are placed atop a white-pea sauce, or the ragda. White peas are not actually white but rather beige, with a flavor that’s perfectly neutral and therefore perfectly wonderful for this dish, because here’s the secret to a perfect Ragda Pattice: you want the two building blocks — the ragda and the patties– to be as mildly flavored as possible without being bland. That way they can provide the perfect backdrop for all those delicious toppings that go on, like the sweet-spicy-sour tamarind sauce, the crispy, savory sev (tiny yellow squiggles of chickpea flour you can buy in a packet at an Indian store), the pungent onion and the lemony, leafy coriander.

Ragda Pattice

Just so you get the full effect of eating the Ragda Pattice, I wanted to share with you a video of the streets of Bombay, shot beautifully and true to life in this evocative song from a late ’70s movie, Gaman. It’s the city through the eyes of one of those cabbies who ferry passengers around in little yellow and black cabs. The streets of Bombay today are perhaps more crowded and certainly more choked up with cars of foreign make, but you will get the idea. The gentle, pensive voice in the song belongs to Suresh Wadkar who, before he hit the big time, briefly taught music at my school, Arya Vidya Mandir. We kids would call him “Wadkar sir” and he was a really sweet guy.

Finally, here’s the recipe for this perfect comfort snack that’s impossible for even the finickiest eater to resist. Enjoy your weekend, all!

Ragda Pattice

Ragda Pattice

Ragda (White Pea Curry)

Ingredients:

1 cup dried white peas (you can find these at any Indian store). Soak for about 6-8 hours or overnight and then cook until tender, either in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop. To cook on the stovetop, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender, making sure that the peas are covered with water all the time.

1tsp ginger and garlic paste (you can even skip this, but don’t use more than this because like I said before, you don’t want a too-strong taste to your ragda)

1 onion, minced

1 tsp chaat masala (also available at Indian stores)

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions. Saute over medium heat, adding a little salt, so the onions sweat and turn translucent but don’t brown.

Add the ginger garlic paste and give it a stir for about a minute to cook the paste.

Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and chaat masala, stir to coat with the oil.

Add the white peas and stir together. Add water if the gravy is too thick, because you want it to be fairly runny. Add salt. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

Ragda Pattice

Pattice (Potato Patties)

Ingredients:

4 medium russet potatoes, boiled in their jackets, then peeled and mashed

2 green chillies, finely minced

1/4 cup cornflour

Salt to taste

Oil or oil spray to coat the bottom of a skillet

Mix the potatoes and other ingredients and form into flat patties, about 2 inches in diameter. I got 14 out of mine, but your results could depend on the size of the potatoes you use.

Heat the skillet, coat the bottom with a thin veneer of oil and, when hot, place the patties about an inch apart. Let each patty cook about 2-3 minutes on medium heat or until the surface is a rich golden-brown. Flip over and cook the other side.

tamarind chutney

Date and Tamarind Chutney

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped dates (make sure you take out the pits)

2 tbsp tamarind paste or a ball of deseeded tamarind, about the size of a lemon (adjust this up or down depending on whether you like your sauce sweet or really tangy)

2 tbsp jaggery (an unrefined Indian sugar sold in blocks at Indian stores)

1/2 tsp cumin, roasted until a couple of shades darker, then ground to a fine powder

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

Salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, then cook, stirring, about 8-10 minutes or until all ingredients are really soft

Place in a blender and add more water if necessary. Blitz. You should have a fairly runny sauce.

Toppings:

1 cup fine sev (found at Indian grocery stores)

1 onion minced, mixed with 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander

To build you plate of Ragda Pattice, pour some of the ragda into a plate. Place two patties on it, then top with the tamarind chutney followed by the onion-coriander mix and finally with the sev.

Enjoy!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Comments

  1. says

    we would make potato patties like this in my family too- mostly after Thanksgiving with all of those mashed potato leftovers. I love the idea of serving them with ragda. Off to the Indian grocer I go to get some white peas! yum!

  2. Anonymous says

    Wow Vaishali

    You really encourage all of us to try these wonderful recipes. Your blog is a great repository of recipes all around the world.

    Take care

    Thanks

  3. Anonymous says

    Indian Chat Cafes in U.S serve Ragada Pattice/Papdi Chat etc with Garbanzo Beans. I really don’t like that. May be they should read this post to learn the authentic recipe that you have posted.

    Thanks

  4. says

    I have been grooving on your blog so much. I have so many of your recipes bookmarked! I just got home from 6 weeks in Pune, and – as always – I loved the food in India so much. Sadly, I am cautious of most street food… which is very practical, but also so sad! So I love finding these recipes for street food so that I can recreate the magic!! :)

  5. Sheela says

    Hey Vaishali,

    Thanks for all yummy recipes. I must say I have not done it all but whatever I have tried has turned out delish…(easy to cook as well for an amateur in cooking)
    Offlate I made rajasthani carrot and peas curry,beans usli,tomato rice and all of the recipes a big hit:)

    Sheels

  6. says

    Connie, thanks! And don’t forget the toppings, because they are what make this dish extra-delicious. :)

    Anonymous, thanks for your kind words.

    Anonymous, you’re right– chickpeas are not the right bean for this because they’re just too flavorful and one needs a bland legume for this dish to make it work.

    Priya, SunSoaker, Chitchat, Thanks!

    Amey, Thanks! Recreating the recipes at home is a great way to enjoy them without worrying about hygiene. And with all the materials so easily available it’s really easy too. :)

    Anonymous, Thank you!

    Dibs, Divya, thanks!

    Sheela, you’re so kind– thanks for the feedback, and you really make my day. :)

    Bindiya, Thanks!

    RawGirl, I admit I never thought as longingly about street food before I moved here and was cut off from it. :)

  7. says

    Kitchen Flavors, he taught us very briefly, but yes, he was a really nice guy like I said and I agree he is a very good singer.

    Mihl, hope you try it! :)

  8. says

    Mrs. Obie, you could easily replace the white peas with garbanzo beans or chickpeas. Tamarind is available in Latino stores, and you could use crushed fried onions in place of the sev. :)

  9. roy says

    Vaishali,your name is synonomous with one of the best restauarants in Pune which serves snacks and food just like your recipes.i must say your blog makes my mouth water and i crave those good old vaishali days.Such a nostalgic feeling ur blog evokes,i love your photographs and writings. crisp and mouthwatering,to summarize.

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