Khima-Stuffed Potato Cakes

Khima Na Pattis

This must be a nineteenth-century adaptation of an English original transformed by Indian cooks into something far more delicious than the original patties. Khima na pattis was one of my favorite childhood dishes. It consists of flattened patties of ground meat enclosed in mashed potato and fried. It’s remarkably hard to execute unless the filling and coating are the right consistency and in the right proportion to each other. For years, until my mother showed me the tricks, my efforts were like potato and khima greasy mess. You need to have the khima cool enough to handle and some mashed potatoes, egg, bread crumbs or semolina, and oil for frying—simple ingredients with spectacularly rewarding results. It is worth anyone’s while to learn how to make pattis; they are without a doubt one of the great Parsi dishes.

Serve with Parsi Green Chutney or Tomato Gravy. Cold pattis make good picnic food.

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Ingredients

  • About 1 ½ cups Khima (about half the recipe)
  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 to 2 cups homemade dry bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Method

  • While the meat is cooking, prepare the potatoes. Boil them, halved for quicker cooking, in salted water until soft. Peel them and mash with the salt and butter. Don’t be tempted to add too much butter. You want potatoes that are firm but pliable. Let the potatoes and khima cool before shaping the pattis.
  • Lightly beat the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Have a plate of the bread crumbs ready, plus a tray lightly dusted with crumbs. Keep a bowl of water near you so that you can keep wetting your hands. This is vital to the successful shaping of pattis. To shape the pattis, grab a handful ½ cup) of potato in a wet hand. Shape it into a ball, and then flatten it to a 4-inch-diameter or palm-size circle. Place 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of cooled meat filling in the center and enclose it in an even coating of potato. I’ve found that saving ¼ of the potato ball and using it as a lid makes neater pattis. Repair any holes or thin spots with extra potato. All this happens while the pattis is still in your hand.
  • Coat each pattis with egg by either dipping or brushing, then put it in the tray of crumbs and shower it to cover it completely, flattening the pattis into a 2-inch-high patty with neat, straight sides. Set aside on the prepared tray until all the pattis are shaped. Three large potatoes yield six large pattis.
  • Heat oil to a depth of 1 inch in a skillet or wok over medium heat. Shallow-fry the patties in two batches, splashing oil on the sides, till barely golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. In response to my wailing about fat-fat-fat and frying-frying-frying, Andrew de Souza, my mother’s cook, sometimes baked pattis on a lightly greased tava, an iron griddle. Fried patties are very good, but the griddle-baked ones have their own charm from the slight charring of the bread crumbs. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Stuffing Variations

Vary the filling for pattis with akuri or Parsi Green Chutney.

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