Asha Gomez's aloo tiki, also known as potato croquettes, are the low-effort, high-impact item on our South Indian New Year's Eve menu. Chances are high they'll be the favorite on everyone's list.
You can make the mashed potatoes ahead and even pre-shape the patties, sticking them in the oven before guests arrive in order to serve them hot (although that's not to say they aren't delightful at room temperature). Serve these with a favorite mint chutney or sour cream, or go sans sauce. They're filled with enough flavor to go stag at your party without blinking an eye.
Flavoring Your Aloo Tiki
The golden hue in these croquettes comes from turmeric. Long before it became the darling of the wellness world, turmeric was and is still used in Indian cookery for its astringent taste, warm flavor, and vibrant color. Along with cumin seeds, ajowan seeds (these boast a flavor similar to oregano; more on them in the recipe notes below), and garlic powder, these croquettes have a way of tasting both flavorful and mild. Take care to wear gloves and protect your work surface while shaping these, lest you walk away with a golden hue all your own.
A South Indian New Year's Eve
We're ringing in the new year with a burst of flavor and color and a menu from Asha Gomez's celebrated cookbook, My Two Souths. Inspired by the parallel flavors of home in Kerala and her home in Atlanta, Asha creates recipes that tell the stories of how these two cultures and traditions of cooking overlap to create the food she shares in her Atlanta-based Indian pâtisserie, Spice To Table.
Aloo Tikki (Golden Potato Croquettes)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ajowan seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder (no-salt)
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, boiled, and coarsely mashed
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, ajowan, and salt and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic powder, stir to combine, and remove from the heat. Let sit to cool and blend flavors for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add the potatoes and cilantro and, using gloved hands, mix to combine. Form the mixture into 12 small patties. Place the patties 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake until a nice, slightly golden crust forms, about 15 minutes. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.
Ajowan: Ajowan, or ajwain seeds, are also known as Bishop's weed. The tiny, pale seeds look similar to but taste nothing like cumin seeds. Rather, ajowan tastes like a stronger, more pungent variation of thyme mixed with notes of aniseed and oregano. Substitute oregano if ajowan seeds are not at hand or readily available for purchase. (It can often be found under different names
or spellings, depending on the style of cuisine: ajave, ajowan, ajwan, aivain, aiwan, carom, Ethiopian cumin, oman, omum.) The unique flavor makes this spice well worth seeking out. Use it sparingly, as the seeds can easily dominate the flavor of a dish.
Reprinted with permission from My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen © 2016 by Asha Gomez with Martha Hall Foose, Running Press.