A steaming cup of tea and Bonda

We are suppose to be at the end of our Monsoon Season – or so we like to think, until suddenly the clouds above us thicken and heaven darkens and within minutes a deluge of rain comes down on all of us, drenching the unprepared but bringing blessed relief to most of us from the heat.

I just, in my mind, think of Autumn back in Europe and before I can go all nostalgic I find my way into my larder to bring out a few items which are needed, to quickly prepare a batch of “Bonda” to go with Jo’s steaming cup of tea. And then the telephone goes and friends announce that they will drop by on their way back to Coimbatore in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, which is a good enough reason to make a bigger batch of those snacks as originally planned. I also had promised some of our friends in Madrid/Spain to send the recipe – so here it is, Maria.

So, therefore without further ado, I herewith share with you “Jo’s Special Bonda”.  But first there are two points I like to make here; I am a coffee- and not a tea-person at all, and despite this I have to admit, Bonda’s taste better with tea (question of personal taste, of course) and when we make Bonda’s for a buffet table here in Cochin or abroad, we prefer to serve them just about ‘bite-size’, i.e. not bigger than our tiny lemon. One ‘ladylike bite’ and they are gone (same goes for cutlets etc. – but more about this another day).


1 kg potatoes

3 cups onions, chopped not too small

3 green chillies (or more or less), chopped

A few curry leaves  (if too big, just cut them smaller)

1 tsp black Mustard Seeds

1 -2 tsp. red chilly powder (taste first and see how HOT you like it)

2 tsp. Urad Dahl

2 cups Gram Flour

Pinch of Turmeric powder

1-2 tsp. of lemon juice (again, taste!)

Some Garam Masala

Vegetable Oil for frying


Boil and mash potatoes coarsely!

Heat oil, add mustard seeds and Dhal and let it go ‘pop’.

Add chopped onions, green chilly, curry leaves, turmeric, red chilly powder and stir this for a minute or so.

Now add potatoes and stir briefly again.

Turn off heat and let mixture cool somewhat before adding lemon juice. Keep tasting to see if you have the right consistency to suit your own palate.  (I often for parties make 2 different batches, one which nearly requires a fire-engine on standby for us ‘who like it hot’ and the other one is a much toned-down Bonda version).

When your mixture is cool enough to handle slightly dampen your hands with cold water and make small balls (in the photographs are the normal tea-time-Bonda’s).

Roll those balls in (yellow) Gram Flour mixed with Garam Masala powder and some salt.

Deep fry gently in oil a few at a time, drain on kitchen paper and keep slightly warm until ready to serve.

PS. The above potato mixture can be frozen for later use and also to be used as curry. I have even used this as a quick filler for Masala Dosa.

Ciao, Carina



8 thoughts on “A steaming cup of tea and Bonda

  1. Good tip that you can freeze the potato mixture – that way you can make a bunch, and don’t have to use it all at once. I like coffee but my wife is allergic, so we actually drink quite a bit of tea for breakfast. And these look like they’d make a terrific breakfast! Thanks for this.

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