Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New breakfast idea - tiki

Or a snack or appetizer. Tiki is the most common appetizer in Bombay, at least. If you go to someone's house, after 20 minutes you get served hot steaming tikkis whether you ask for it or not. It's just a potato cakes (kind of like a potato burger, if you will) fried until crisp and seasoned with fresh cilantro and chilies.

But then there's the tiki man in Bombay! Almost every other Sunday my grandparents (and others in the neighborhood) know their siestas will be thankfully disturbed by the tiki man, who carries a giant metal box on his head, padded with a scarf, and inside are all varieties of tikis that he made himself. The heart shape ones have minced meat stuffed inside (most popular), the square ones have lentils inside them, and the round ones are plain. We'd stock up and eat the tikis for breakfast or even dinner, as a sandwich, with either ketchup or my grandmother's dreamy cilantro chutney.

This morning we ate tikis stuffed with lentils for breakfast with bread and our homemade ketchup. It's quite satisfying if you have a long day ahead of you, and it only took about 20 minutes to make. I started to boil the potato and lentils right before I jumped into the shower and when I came out they were done! So, efficiency helps when you're pressed for time.

1 large potato, peeled and boiled until cooked
1 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 a green chili, chopped
salt & pepper
2 tbs bread crumbs
2 tbs red lentils, rinsed and boiled until tender
1/8 tsp umchur (dried mango powder)
1/8 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp dried coriander powder
a pinch of asafetida (optional)
1 tbs oil + more for shallow frying
1/4 cup bread crumbs for coating

Make the lentil mixture: Boil the lentil in 1/2 cup water on medium heat until tender and drain. In a pan, heat oil to medium and add all the spices - when they sizzle, turn off heat and pour into the cooked lentils with some salt and mix.

Boil the large potato until it's cooked.

In a mixing bowl, mash the potato with cilantro, green chili (add how much ever chili you can handle), salt and pepper and bread crumbs. Divide the mixture into four. Gather one section and mound into a ball, then make an indentation with your finger so that you can add about 1/2 or 1 tbs of lentil mixture in the middle. I coax in a lot of lentils in there because they have a lot of protein. Gingerly seal the potato mixture so that the lentil mixture is well hidden, flatten and shape into either hearts or squares or circles! Repeat with the remaining.

Coat the shaped tikis in bread crumbs and shallow fry in a hot pan until they are crispy and golden brown. Serve with bread, ketchup or chutney.


  1. Yum ! Remember the tiki guy who used to come every week to sell homemade tikis to Nani's house?



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