Selection of Indian starters

Matt Tebbutt makes a trio of spicy starters - potato patties, a popular Indian snack food, together with spiced Indian cheese and a yogurt dip
By Matt Tebbutt
Selection of Indian starters
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus 2 hours or overnight marinating
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the aloo tikki

  • 2 large baking potatoes, chopped
  • 3 cm piece root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 250 g frozen peas

For the masala spiced paneer

  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 400 g paneer, sliced into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • lemon wedges

For the yogurt dip

  • 8 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1/2 large cucumber, seeds removed, grated
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • squeeze lemon juice

Tips and Suggestions

To get ahead, each starter can be prepared a day ahead and chilled. When ready to serve the aloo tikki and masala spiced paneer can be quickly cooked.

Method

1. For the aloo tikki: cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water for about 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain well, then mash the potatoes until smooth and set aside. Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium frying pan. Tip in the ginger, chilli, garlic, garam masala and peas, then fry gently until softened and the peas are thawed. Mix together the cooked spice and pea mix with the mashed potatoes until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Mould the potato mix into small round cakes about 4cm in diameter. Place on a tray and chill until you are ready to cook and serve.

2. For the masala spiced paneer: in a medium bowl, mix together the garam masala, chilli powder, lemon juice and enough olive oil to turn it into a very loose paste. Toss in the paneer and stir around gently to coat each piece in the spice paste. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

3. For the yogurt dip: when ready to serve, mix together the dip ingredients then taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.

4. Shake off any excess marinade from the paneer and thread the cubes on soaked wooden skewers. Drizzle or brush a little olive oil on a large frying or griddle pan, heat the pan then fry the paneer, turning, until the cubes are golden on each side. Remove and dust with the chaat masala.

5. Meanwhile, heat a lightly oiled frying pan and fry the chilled aloo tikki for about 5 minutes, turning once, or until golden on each side and hot all the way through. Serve the yogurt dip alongside the warm aloo tikki and warm spiced paneer, with lemon wedges for squeezing.

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