Monday, July 18, 2011

Potato nests with channa chaat

This is something my husband made yesterday, a rainy Sunday evening. Earlier during the week I had watched a chaat special episode on Khana Kazana. As I was watching, I was on the phone with my husband during his lunch break and told him how appetising the chaats were. We wanted to try something for the weekend evening.
I had boiled some chickpeas, made the sweet and mint green chutneys. While I was about to boil the potatoes, we thought of deep frying potato strips and adding them to the dish, just like sev or bhoondhi.
Then I mentioned that I had read somewhere that we can press the potatoes between two steel tea / juice strainers and deep fry them. Just release them and you will have crisps baskets made of potatoes. I wonder why I thought of it, however, we decided that we shall give it a try.
I did not have two strainers that will fit one into another, but had this ladle (that I had purchased thinking it would be good for boondhis, which evidently was not) with slotted eyelets! We thought of using that and another ladle to press the potatoes in. He even bent the handle to almost 90 degrees to its original position, to aid the immersion of the slotted cup well in the oil.
I grated the potatoes in big, slightly thick strips into a bowl of water, thinking that squeezing out the water and frying them will be good. Alas, it was not to be so. Then a quick reference to Mallika Badrinath's recipe and Sanjeev Kapoor's website helped, though one said drop the strips in water and the other said not to! Then my husband went by his instinct. He drained the water and we spread the potatoes on a cloth for a few minutes. Mixed the salt and for binding I sprinkled very finely powdered sago (I had it from my sago murukku experiment). You can use corn flour or rice flour as you choose.
Getting all this assembled, my husband said he would do the rest while I will take care of the filling. Making the filling wasn't much, considering the fact that I had made the sweet chutney and thick mint green chutney ahead. The chick peas was also boiled and ready. All I needed was to chop onions and coriander.

I was more than happy to watch and take pictures while he made the potatoes in perfectly done crisps, gently released them from the slotted ladle with a spoon on the absorbent tissues.
Thus a very welcome chaat dish was made at home and we enjoyed, eating it warm and had hot masala chai watching the rain.
Later, I had to share the picture on facebook when Vijitha suggested that we can make a low oil version using the paniyaaram (appam)pan. I am yet to try that version. I had to share this tip for those who are wanting to attempt.
You may get as innovative as you choose with the fillings. Mine is a simple one, though I like the Chaatwale channa recipe I made earlier!

(for potato nests)
5 medium potatoes
Salt to taste
3 teaspoons cornflour (or any flour that will aid some binding, I have used powdered sago)
Oil for deep frying

Gadgets useful:
Two immediate sizes stainless steel tea strainers/ or fruit juice strainers.

(for the filling)
1/2 cup chick peas (soaked, pressure cooked and salted)
2 tablespoons Kajoor-imli ki chutney
2 tablespoons Spicy mint chutney (read recipe in Pani puri / Golgappas green chutney)
1 small onion sliced finely
1 tomato chopped
A generous amount of chopped coriander leaves.

(For the filling)
Cook the chick peas well and add the salt.
Mix all ingredients listed for filling.
Keep ready.

Method to make potato nests:
Wash and peel the potatoes.
Use the large eyelet side of the grater and grate the potatoes in fairly broad strips. Tale them in a bowl of water.
Rinse well and drain the water.
Spread the potatoes on a dry cloth and cover in a fold.
Meanwhile keep oil for deep frying ready.
Take the potato strips, which are very slightly damp in a plate or bowl. Add some salt and the flour. Mix well.
When the oil is hot, Spread lightly the potatoes, in a layer in the bigger of the strainers.
Place the smaller fitting strainer on the potatoes. This will press them inside the big strainer in the shape of a cup. If it is not fitting well, you may just remove this strainer and try to make with the bottom one alone.
Gently immerse this whole in the hot oil. Hold them in the oil until the potatoes are fried.
Remove from the oil and gently release the cups on to absorbent tissues.

Repeat the entire process to use up all the potato strips.
Keep the prepared potato nests ready until time to serve.
Serve these filling some of the chick peas filling and garnish if you wish.
Ours were not deep to ne called cups or baskets and they looked more like the picture of the nest I had found in my parents' garden. So my husband called them potato nests.

I am sending these and my microwave potato cups recipe to Vatsala's LGSS_Potato event.


  1. They look so so appetizing! Guys always have a different but amazing style in their cooking and have the 'nala paakam' in them :)

  2. Wow ... was waiting for this to be posted. Nice and wonderful way of making the nests. In coimbatore they name it as potato baskets.

  3. I had these potato baskets/nests at a restaurant in TVM many years ago and have always thought that I should get 2 strainers... Great idea to use a ladle and uncle has kalakufied. What a yummy snack.

  4. This looks fantastic. Simply awesome :) I tried this long back when I wanted a nest for my bread tikkis but unfortunately I tried to make a huge one and was left out with a soggy nest :( Should definitely try to make small ones like yours :) Im loving the simple channa filling too :)

    Great job by your hubby :) He can put his collars up for this dish :)

  5. Nest is apt for those potato baskets. I was about to ask if that laddle was for bhoondi. Good that you found it useful for this. Its time that you add Anna too as co-author for this blog.

  6. wowwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!! beautifully made potato nests with great care the wonderful presentation and the lovely step by step demo.
    very innovative and colourful crispy chhaat.

  7. This looks so yummy, have to try it soon. Just a quick question, can I make the fried nests / baskets 2-3 days in advance and then fill them the time I want to serve. How to store them properly so that they remain crisp(er) for a long time.

    Thanks again for the wonderful work.

  8. wow ...awesomely innovative idea dear...

  9. The nests look really cute. Interesting idea from your husband. The chaat looks delicious. this motivates me to try making potato nests.

  10. your hubby has so much patience to make this cute nests..they look very tempting with the filling..yumm

  11. such creativity! i guess they mean it when they say men makes the best cooks (although i don't always agree! :)

  12. Wow lovely idea...well done! Luv the idea of channa filling and potato nest

  13. I've been seeing this everyday on fb and totally jollu uttufying! They look super pretty - I wish you can make these and sell them here so I can just pick up a few and eat non stop!

  14. Wow this the famous nests..:)..looks great

  15. These look absolutely droolworthy.

  16. Lata garu, planning to make this for my son's sleep over party. Really like the recipe


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I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.