In our frenzied and increasingly impersonal world of late nights at work, crazy schedules with kids, and conveniently located restaurants luring us with elaborate menus, where’s the time or inclination to cook? It seems that the burgeoning restaurant scene seems to have found its ideal, loyal clientele—busy professionals with little patience and plenty of money

As more and more people opt to go out for dinners abandoning the age old tradition of making their own meals, it gives me pause as to what our next generation is going to learn. What culinary traditions will we pass forward? Are we giving rise to a generation that has been deprived of the sensuous art of cooking? A generation that finds solace in restaurant-bought food over home cooked meals?

Creating and enjoying a home-cooked meal is a great way to add the personal touch to life. Food has the ability to bring people together in celebration. It adds in oodles of love to our daily meals as well as important occasions, like birthdays.

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Speaking of birthdays, they have always been extra-special for me, filled with the honor of being treated as a special person for one entire day. These days, it has become a reason to get together with friends and family to celebrate the year gone by while welcoming the new one.

With distinctive memories of our birthdays, my husband and I wanted to make our guests feel special by making them a home-cooked meal for my birthday.

After going through scores and scores of recipes, Ragda Patties was finalized (based on the ease of preparation and its mass appeal factor).

Famous in most parts of the country, this Indian street food has different names in different regions—Ragda Patties in the west, Aloo Tikki Chaat in the north and Aloo Gughuni Chaat in the east and it is as tasty in all its numerous versions.

Jagruti Vedamati writes from Los Angeles  and is currently juggling a hectic Ph.D. life with food blogging. You can find her recipes atturmerickitchen.blogspot.com.


Ragda Patties

This strikingly colorful, savory Indian street food is a delightful combination of aromatic potato patties served with a dollop of spicy yellow pea curry. Generous sprinklings of assorted chutneys, crispy sev (fried chickpea noodles) and chopped onions add the extra sparkle to this dish.

Ragda/Gughuni (Yellow Peas Curry)

Ingredients:
2 cups whole yellow/
white peas (Soaked over
night)
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ cup oil
4 medium sized tomatoes—chopped
3 tbsps tomato ketchup
1 tbsp sambhar powder
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp sugar
Salt to taste

recipes-aug21 tsp amchur (dried mango) powder.

Method:
i. In 1 cup of water make a paste with tomato ketchup, sambhar powder, chili powder, sugar, salt and amchur powder
ii. Boil the peas with salt and turmeric powder till just done. Set aside. I use a pressure cooker for quick results.
iii. In a deep pan, add in the oil and once the oil heats up, add in the chopped tomatoes and let it cook till soft and mushy (~ 2-3 mins).
iv. Add in the paste one spoon at a time and wait till the masala mixture is dry. Continue till you finish all of it and the oil floats to the top.
v. Now add in the boiled peas and cook over medium low heat till soft and mushy (~ 5 mins).
vi. Adjust for salt and amchur powder.

Potato Patties:

Ingredients:
4-5 medium sized boiled potatoes
1 cup finely chopped mint
½ tsp dry ginger powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2-3 finely chopped green chilies
½ tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp rice flour or corn flour
½ tsp chaat masala a pinch of sugar salt to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
Oil to fry.

Method:
1. Mash the boiled potatoes along with all the other ingredients.
2. Divide the dough equally into palm sized rounds. Now flatten the mashed potato rounds, roll them in bread crumbs (for the crunch!) and shallow fry till golden brown.

Tamarind Date Chutney:

Sweet and slightly tangy, this delectable date chutney is a must have for this street delicacy.

Ingredients
8-10 pitted whole dates
1 cup water
1½ tsp tamarind extract
1 tbsp jaggery
½ tsp dry ginger powder
½ tsp cumin powder
A pinch of black salt
¼ tsp chili powder (Optional)

Method
i. Soak the tamarind separately in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes till both are soft. Squeeze out the tamarind pulp from the soaked tamarind.

ii. In a pan over medium heat, add water and the chopped pitted dates. Cook till it boils gently and the dates look softer (~ 3-4 mins).

iii. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and adjust the sweetness with jaggery according to your taste. Switch off the stove once the mixture looks glossy (~ 2 mins more after adding the rest of the ingredients).

Green Chutney:
Spicy and savory, this coconut and cilantro chutney adds that much needed peppery hint.
2 cups cilantro leaves
½ cups frozen shredded coconut
½ tbsp chopped Green Chilies
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp rock salt (Optional)
Salt to taste
½ tsp lemon juice

Grind the cilantro leaves to a paste, along with the green chilies, coconut and a little bit of water, if required. Mix in sugar, salt, lemon juice and adjust according to taste. This chutney should not be very watery, so avoid using too much water.

Assembly:

Place the patties on a plate

Pour a dollop of the yellow pea curry.

Drizzle it with tamarind date chutney and green chutney. Sprinkle chopped onions, sev and chaat masala.

Savor it with all your senses!

Some useful notes:

• Soak the peas overnight and boil the next day. Store it in the refrigerator for the day of the event.

• You can prepare the patties the day before the event and refrigerate it. Fry it just before the party begins. That way the patties hold together much better leaving you with little work to do on the day of the party.

• You can even prepare all the chutneys beforehand and refrigerate.

• After you are done frying the patties, cover the dish with aluminum foil and keep it hot in the oven (250 degrees fahrenheight) till the guests arrive.

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