Mama’s Punjabi Recipes: Aaloo Di Tikki (Potato Cutlets)


The lowly aloo (potato) is not so low on the culinary scale for Indian food as it is, by far, the most used vegetable in desi cooking and is certainly one of the cheapest.  Potatoes are found just about everywhere; there are stunted, small varieties found even among the sand soils of the desert in Rajasthan and West Africa where potatoes are especially pricey.

You find potatoes in samosas, paranthas, rice biryani, daals, curries, chaats, pakoras, cutlets, sautéed with other vegetables and, of course, cooked in many ways on its own. It is probably used in more dishes in Indian cooking than in any other variety of cuisines.

Potatoes are generally very high in carbohydrates (about 26gm in a medium potato) predominantly in the form of starch, both of which can contribute to weight gain. A small but significant amount of starch is resistant to digestion by enzymes, and remains in the large intestine intact as fiber which provides bulk and protects against colon cancer. Potatoes are classified as high glycemic and so are not suited to individuals on a low sugar diet.

Still, Indians love potatoes in one form or the other without any concern; in fact they often eat them with lots of other heavy carbohydrates, like white rice, rotis (flat bread) and puris (fried breads) or in fried foods which are saturated in oils and although these dishes are tasty, they are fattening. Aloo tikki (potatoa cutlets) are as comforting as pakoras (fried fritters) eaten with chutney and can be made on a tava (flatplate) or if making many, deep fried.

• 6 medium aaloo (potatoes) – red or plain, but not the baking kind
• 2 slices bread – preferably white
• As needed tael (olive oil or veg         etable oil)
• Spices taste: dhania (coriander powder), lal mirch (red pepper), namak (salt); amchoor (dried mango powder)

1. Peel the potatoes, then wash them and let them boil in a pot of salted water.
2. Cut the edges off the slices of bread, shred them and keep aside.
3. After the potatoes are tender, drain the water. Place them in a bowl and mash the potatoes. Add in the shredded bread and mix in well with the spices.
4. Grease your palms with a little oil; pinch off a portion of the mixture and make into a 1 inch ball. Flatten the ball between your palms into ¼ inch thick discs and set aside on a plate. Repeat till all the mixture has been made.
5. Heat up a tava (flatplate) on high setting and then coat with a little oil. Once hot, reduce the setting to low and place four or five discs on to cook.
6. When one side is brown, turn over to brown the other side. The tikkis should be slightly crispy in order to get the right texture and taste. Serve with chutney or your favorite spicy sauce.



Cooking tikkis and other similar snacks that use mashed potatoes is a matter of the right temperature, not only for the tava (flatplate) but also of the potatoes. Once the potatoes are boiled, it is important to let them cool down for a while before using them, especially if the potatoes are of the soft variety. Sometimes you can even keep them in the fridge to cool down. This way, the starch in the potatoes settles down and the tikkis will not come out sticky.

mamas recipe inside3

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.