Beet and potato tikkis - Super crispy, spiced vegan patties with the goodness of beets, corn, and peas. A delicious Indian appetizer enjoyed on their own or with chutney or ketchup.
I remember tasting my first authentic tikki in a street-side stall in a market in New Delhi, during a snack break while in the middle of my wedding trousseau shopping. It was love at first bite. Super crisp, served with a tangy tamarind sauce and green chutney, these tikkis were nothing like the ones I had eaten before.
Aloo tikki chaat is such a popular street food in Delhi and parts of North India, yet the many versions I had eaten previously (in South India), were not quite as crispy as the ones I ate that day. There had to be a secret to the crisp texture, and there simply had to be a way to replicate this at home!
What are tikkis made of?
To put it simply, tikkis are patties made of potatoes as the base ingredient. Traditional aloo-tikkis are made with potatoes, and stuffing of lentils (channa dal) and spices. The patties are shallow fried in oil, until golden brown. These aloo-tikkis are then eaten on their own, or served as aloo-tikki chaat, in which the tikki is crushed and served with spiced yogurt and sweet and sour chutney and chaat masala.
I like to make my own spin on the classic aloo-tikki recipe by adding a variety of vegetables to the patty. I use beets, corn, and peas and often carrots to the potatoes. These tikkis are more nutritious than traditional aloo-tikkis and my kids love these multi-veggie patties.
How to make crispy tikkis
The key to making crispy tikkis lies in these two factors:
- Keep Moisture Low: Make sure you are using potatoes and beets that have completely cooled down. A steaming hot potato will release moisture and will result in a softer filling for the tikki. Let your potatoes and beets cool down to room temperature at the least. You can also keep your potatoes and beet in the fridge to cool before you them.
- Use Rice flour: Rice flour absorbs moisture well and when used in deep frying or shallow frying, they stay crisp for long, long after they are fried. Rice flour is also commonly used in vegetable pakoras to make them extra crispy. Some recipes for tikkis call for rice flakes aka, flattened rice (poha). However, I find that rice flour does a good job on its own. You can choose to add rice flakes after rehydrating them with water.
More easy appetizers for you to try:
Aloo and Beetroot Tikkis
- Cook the beet and potatoes just enough for the potatoes to be of mash able consistency and the beets to have a little bite (slightly firm).
- Instant Pot Instructions for cooking beet and potatoes:
- Peel the potatoes and the beet. Slice the potatoes into quarters and the beet in half. Place beet and potatoes in a steamer basket. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot, and place the trivet inside. Place steamer basket on the trivet and cover the kid of the IP. Pressure Cook (or use Manual mode for older Instant Pot models) for 5 minutes and let the pressure release naturally. Once the vent has come down, open the lid of the Instant Pot and take out the vegetables. Cool them to room temperature before proceeding with the rest of the steps.
- Stovetop Instructions for cooking beet and potatoes:
- Peel the potatoes and the beet. Slice the potatoes into quarters and the beet in half. Heat water in a bot on the stovetop. Add the beet and potatoes, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Cool them to room temperature before proceeding with the rest of the steps.
- Preparing the tikkis / patties:
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the cooled potatoes using a potato masher or your fingers.
- Grate the cooled, cooked beet using a grater. Add the grated beet to the mixing bowl.
- Add the grated ginger, corn kernels, frozen peas, garam masala, chopped mint, chaat masala and salt.
- Add 4 tablespoons of rice flour, and mix all the ingredients using your palms. The ingredients should form a dough-like ball, and should not be too sticky or too dry. Add a little more rice flour, to bind the ingredients if needed.
- Once the patty-dough is formed, make lemon-sized balls of the patty dough. Wet your palms with water, tap off excess water and shape the patties. Keep the shaped patties on parchment paper or on a non-stick surface after shape them.
- In a skillet/ frying pan on the stove-top, add enough vegetable oil such that there is half-inch deep oil in the pan. Once hot, add the patties gently. Fry in batches, do not overcrowd.
- Fry each side for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Flip over gently and fry the other side for 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, transfer to absorbent kitchen paper.
- Serve warm with tamarind chutney or ketchup.