Aloo Chap (Spiced Meat and Potato Cakes)

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finished aloo chap

Home cooking is a concept that I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last couple of months since my last post back in May.  Since then, I moved from Scottsdale, Arizona back to my hometown of Toronto and in that time, l have lived in 5 hotels, my parents’ house, my inlaws house (AND gone to 5 weddings) before moving into our own loft downtown.  And back in Scottsdale, we were in a temporary  furnished rental for 3 months with our thngs in storage.  So it’s been a long LONG time since I’ve seen a good deal of my stuff.  And with this transient lifestyle, I’ve eaten at so many restaurants out of necessity that homecooking is something I’ve truly been craving.

aloo chap ingredients on board

It’s taken a while for me to get back into the swing of cooking at home.  Time to find new grocery stores, find enough surface area to work on in our open concept kitchen, and find places to store all the stuff we unpacked.  Finally, I feel like I’m there – home.  And ready to get my home-cooking on.  And for me, that means aloo chap – an Indian-Chinese word we use for potato cakes stuffed with spiced ground meat.  It’s one of my family’s specialties.

 cooked aloo chap meatmashed potato aloo chap

aloo chap meat in potatoaloo chap meat + potato

Aloo is the Hindi word for potato – I thought it was a Chinese word until I was in my 20s.  My first memory of eating aloo chap is going to one of my aunt’s houses a kid, my aunties working away to make a zillion aloo chaps assembly line style, and all of us cousins smothering the little potato rounds in ketchup before stuffing our faces.  My aunts made two kinds – spicy for the grown ups and non-spicy for us kiddies.  I think they must have used entire sacs of potatoes and half a cow to make enough aloo chaps to satisfy our entire family, and to have enough for leftovers to send home with everyone.

prepped aloo chap

Now that I make them at home, I use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, and gluten free breadcrumbs.  Also, I pan fry them instead of deep frying for both health and cleanup laziness reasons.  I know my adaptations are A-OK since I made these for my parents and they said they were just as yum as the ones my aunt’s make.  This is a MAJOR compliment since these aunties are awesome cooks renowned for their massive spreads of all sorts of insanely delicious eats at our family functions.  And now that I’m back in TO, I can enjoy this regularly.  So happy to be home.

 aloo chap in frying pan

Aloo Chap (Spiced Potato Cakes) 

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients

  • 5-6 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder or 1 finely diced chili pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lb ground turkey, chicken, or lamb
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs

Directions:

1. In a medium pot, boil potatoes for 15 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain, mash, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat in a wok or frying pan.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, chili/pepper, cilantro and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.

3. Add ground meat and peas and continue cooking until meat is fully cooked and quite dry.  Add salt and lemon juice.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes and meat mixture and stir until fully blended.  Spoon 1/3 cup of the mixture into your hand and shape into a round patty.  Gently roll patty in breadcrumbs until coated and set aside on baking sheet until ready to cook.  Repeat until all the potato mixture is used.

5. In a medium frying pan add about 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat.  Add a few patties at a time and cook on each side until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Gently flip and cook the other side until golden brown.  Continue until all the patties are done.

6. Serve hot with ketchup.  For extra heat, add Tobasco or Mexican style hot sauce to the ketchup. 

PS – you can also make these smaller and serve them as appetizers.

Kids bbq

This is some of the cousins at a party sometime in the 80s. I'm absent in this picture... just like I was absent in many pix when I was in AZ. See how sad everyone is??? Except smiley Kim.

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7 Responses to Aloo Chap (Spiced Meat and Potato Cakes)

  1. KeenerStyle July 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! And the picture of me at the end is bringing back lots of memories! I think it might have been my birthday? :)

  2. Sean Cabico July 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    can i request a “How to make Chili Chicken Dry” Recipe/instruction

    • Vanessa August 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

      Sure! I love recipe requests! I will work on this one as part of my wedding gift to you and Suzanne! lol

  3. Nicole September 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    FINALLY got around to making this! It took me a while, but YUM was it worth it :) next time I’m employing the Russian hubby as the official potato masher (he was disappointed with my potato mashing abilities) thanks!

    • vanessa September 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

      yay! it’s def a little time consuming to make and extra man muscles for mashing is always a good idea… glad it was yum :)

  4. Vi September 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    I love Aloo Chaps and I will definitely be trying out this recipe. When I make aloo chaps, I usually create a pocket for the meat within the mashed potatoes, but it is waaaaay to time consuming. Thanks for this recipe!!
    I tried your lemon chicken recipe last week and it was delicious!
    Please keep up the great recipes on your site!

    • Vanessa September 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      Thanks Vi! My aunt’s are brilliant and their little shortcut for aloo chaps is so clever. Glad you enjoyed the lemon chicken :)

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