Tikkis (टिक्की ), the griddle fried spicy potato patties, served with spicy chickpeas and topped with a combination of yet spicier cilantro and tamarind chutneys, are a popular street snack in North India. You can read here for more details. Tikki wallahs (hawkers) carrying a variety of savory/spicy snacks commonly referred to as ‘chaat’ can be easily spotted at every block on any shopping street in my hometown. Premade tikkis are stacked around the edges of the of a big round ‘tava’ (griddle) and fried to order (watch this small video to get a glimpse) while you wait or enjoy other treats . After couple of rounds of these spicy treats, when your eyes are watering and tongue is burning, you can head over to the nearest ice cream vendor, who has made a strategic decision to park their cart right next to the chaat vendor. Here is a small video of a chaat vendor preparing tikkis.
The brunch last weekend was inspired by the tikkis and the chutneys served with it. I must warn that what I prepared is not ‘real’ tikki. My version is way too healthier and not as spicy. My kids love these mixed vegetable tikkis served burger style. I try to use Indian style condiments just to keep things more authentic but there is nothing wrong with serving these tikkis with ketchup (my kids use that) and other condiments.
I don’t follow a specific recipe or a defined list of ingredients so I will just provide my technique. I served tikkis with cilantro chutney and cucumber yogurt relish.
1. Potatoes serve as binding agent forming the round patties. Without it, the vegetables will just fall apart. I have used here 5-6 small size potatoes. Boil whole potatoes in water. When tender (insert a knife to check), take them off heat. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin. Mash.
2. Grate or dice other vegetables. I usually go with whatever is available at the time. Here I have used here carrots, peas and green onions. Cabbage, bell peppers, green beans, cauliflower, beets are all good choices.
3. Add grated ginger, minced garlic, minced green chili (optional) and chopped cilantro.
4. Add spices – roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, amchoor powder, garam masala, ground black pepper or red chili powder, salt. I tend to drop coriander powder and amchoor powder by tablespoons and all other spices by tea spoons. Taste and adjust.
5. At this point, mix everything together and form golf size balls. Flatten by pressing in between your palms.You may roll these in bread crumbs.
6. Heat your griddle (cast iron preferred) and cook on both sides by applying small amounts of oil on both sides.
7. Heat buns, cut onion, tomato slices. Serve with cilantro chutney and cucumber-yogurt relish or other condiments of your choice. Let everybody make their own burger by layering condiments of choice. To layer one for me, I started with a dollop of cilantro chutney followed by yogurt cucumber relish topped with tikki and onion and tomato slices.
Cilantro chutney – I made a simple chutney here by grinding a cup of cilantro along with 1 tomato and 2 green chilies. Added salt and amchoor powder to taste.
Cucumber-yogurt relish: Dice 2small cucumbers. Add yogurt, salt, diced mint (dried mint is okay) and black pepper. Mix everything.