A few people had a little giggle the last time I wrote about balls. I know, right. Maybe it’s the company I keep. Anyway, let’s hope they’ve matured since then because these balls are zesty. These little pillows of softness are zesty (of course) and soft and squishy and you just can’t stop at one. They’re made with sweet potato, obviously, and shallow fried. But doon’t let that put you off.
To be honest, the word frying puts me off, but these turned out so well, and there wasn’t a huge mess from the oil. And the reaction from everyone who’s eaten them shows these are a winner. And of course they are delicious. I often wonder if anyone would write about a recipe they created without saying it was delicious.
Let me tell you where they came from. On the second day of the Ayurveda module at The Vegetarian Cooking School we had to work in small groups and come up with something that would suit the doshas of the whole group. Most of us where some kind of pitta or vata and so sweet potatoes were fine. Kaphas should avoid sweet potato but can eat white potatoes. And if sweet potato is something that your family would like to eat AND you know about the doshas – vata, pitta and kapha, then you could include a churna, which is a blend of spices.
(On a side note, do you know how difficult it is to write about Ayurveda with spell check turned on?)
If all of this sounds like a foreign language just skip ahead, the recipe is coming up soon. And that’s all that matters really. Does it taste good? Does it make you feel amazing? Then it’s probably right for you. Anyhow, I’m slightly off track…
On the second day I was in a group with Em and Tenzin and we came up with a zesty potato ball recipe with a cashew and coriander dipping sauce.
Cooking in a group environment can be so rewarding but also so daunting. I think it’s human nature to compare yourself with others and when you do you often think everyone is better than you which can hit your confidence a bit. Veet, the head honcho at the Vegetarian Cooking School, can often be heard saying ‘Don’t compare.’ And so, when I find myself thinking the people that are cooking around me are better, I silently say to myself, don’t compare. And it works.
So Em, Tenzin and I set about making these sweet potato balls. Em and Tenzin live and work in Sydney and are fab cooks and very creative. I’m secretly hoping they open a cafe so everyone can enjoy their amazing talents.
The recipe was inspired by one we saw in a cookbook, but it changed so much because we were governed by what ingredients were left in the kitchen towards the end of the day. Em, Tenzin and I worked well together. We peeled and steamed and processed and sifted and stirred, questioning each other as we went. What spices should we use? Is this thick enough? Should we add more water? How big will we make the balls?
And at the end of the process were the most amazing soft, squishy, sweet potato balls that we couldn’t get enough of.
When we first made them we used a combination of potatoes because that was what was left, but since being home I’ve made them a couple of times just with sweet potato. I don’t know if I’d make them just with regular potato because I love the orange colour as you bite into them.
Serve them with some lemon rice for some pure Ayurvedic goodness, or just because it tastes good.Print
Zesty Potato Balls
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 24 balls 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Ayurveda
- 1 kg potatoes (mixture of white and sweet)
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 cm piece ginger (peeled and grated)
- 1 red chilli (chopped)
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup coriander (chopped)
- Sunflower oil (for frying)
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 pinch Hing
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup water (extra if needed)
Coriander and cashew sauce
- 1 cup cashews (soaked for 2 hours)
- 1 lime (juiced)
- ½ bunch coriander
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch salt
- Peel, chop and steam potatoes.
- Add salt whilst steaming.
- Process ginger, chilli, lemon juice and coriander.
- Mash potatoes with the ginger mixture.[br][b]Batter[/b]
- Sift buckwheat flour into a large bowl.
- Stir in salt, hing and cayenne pepper.
- Slowly add water, whisking to remove any lumps.
- Add more water if needed.
- Batter should be like a thick cream.
- To Cook Balls
- Heat the oil on a high heat.
- Roll potato mixture into small ping pong sized balls and then flatten to 1 cm thick discs.
- Use a spoon to dip the balls into the batter.
- Fry, in batches, until golden on one side and flip over and fry the other side.
- Drain on paper towel.
- Potato is extremely hot straight out of the pan.
- Serve with sauce
- Soak cashews
- Blend everything together
- Add water as needed to make a sauce consistency.
Hing is a spice also known as asafoetida. It is common in Indian vegetarian cuisine. It is quite strong on its own but mellows during cooking. If you don’t have hing, replace it with an equal quantity of onion and garlic powder.