Bateta Vara (Spiced Potato Fritters)

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Deep-fried spicy potatoes.

Being hungry when I was at university was not a fun thing, the vending machines churned out some nasty stuffs. I experimented with nachos, cheetos, popcorn, jujubes and some other stuffs that made me even grumpier. I’d think back of the days when I was in middle and high school where I used to buy hot hot bateta vara(s) at the canteen, each for only 5 shillings (less than $0.10). Here is a bit of yummy to recapture those days!

Recipe: Bateta Vara

Also known as: Bateta Wada

Accompaniments: Dates chutney/Ketchup/Coconut chutney

Source: N/A

Servings: Makes about 15 varas


Base ingredients:

  • 5 white largish potatoes, russet potatoes work well
  • Pinch of turmeric

Seasoning for the potatoes:

  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp ginger paste
  • Salt to taste
  • Chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Chopped coriander leaves
  • Green chilies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut chutney (optional)

For the vagar (tempering)

  • 1 tsp rai (mustard seeds)
  • 1 tsp jeeru seeds (cumin seeds)
  • 5-8 curry leaves

For the batter

  • 1 cup channa flour (chickpea/gram/besan flour)
  • 1 egg
  • chili powder
  • large pinch of turmeric
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of hot oil
  • water as needed


Peel and cut the potatoes in large cubes. Either boil the potatoes or cook them in the microwave until just done. Don’t let the potatoes get mushy at all or they will absorb too much water and break when you fry them.

Russet potatoes

Potatoes in turmeric

In the micro!

Done and drained

Mash the potatoes while warm and keep aside.

Mix the seasonings listed above (garlic, ginger etc.) and add to the potatoes, mix well.

Take a small pan for the vagar, heat some vegetable oil and fry mustard seeds, cumin seed and curry leaves until the mustard crackles.  This takes very little time, remove the pan from the heat and add the now seasoned oil to the potato mixture.

Mix the potato mixture well. Add juice from one lemon.

Taste check, you want the potato mixture to be little spicy-tangy-sweet!


With the seasonings and vagar

Make small (smaller than a golf ball) sized balls and move on to make the batter.

Make small balls

Mix the batter ingredients to form a thick batter.


Coat in the batter

Heat oil deep enough to cover the potato balls.

Fry the coated potato balls on medium-high heat. Once they become golden brown, remove and blot on paper towels to remove excess oil.

If you have any batter left, you can coat other veggies such as sliced eggplant, jalapeno peppers and fry them.

Best eaten whilst hot!


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