This recipe is adapted from Modern Spice by Monica Bhide (Simon & Schuster 2009). These small patties take practice to make perfect. Make sure the peanuts are not ground too fine. There should be small pieces in the mix. Fry on medium heat to make them perfectly crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. For the cooked corn you can cut kernels off roasted, steamed or boiled ears, or use well-drained canned corn or thawed frozen kernels. (One medium ear yields 1 to 1 1/4 cup kernels.) Once fried, the tikkis can be kept warm in a 200-degree oven, but they won't stay crisp.
Makes about 10 (2 3/4-inch) patties, 4 servings
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1/4 medium red bell pepper, cut into small dice (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup plain panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely ground
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
4 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
Store-bought tamarind-date chutney (available at Indian markets line) for drizzling
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with an inch or two of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until fork-tender. Drain well, then mash. There should be a range of textures.
Add the bell pepper, crumbs, corn, pomegranate seeds (if using), salt, cilantro, peanuts and ground chili (start with the smaller amount). Mix to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt and chili as needed.
Divide the mixture into 10 equal portions. Use wet hands to form each portion into a ball, then flatten it into a small round tikki (patty). Set the patties aside on a plate. At this point, the tikkis can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.
Line a large plate with a few layers of paper towels. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add about half of the tikkis and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the tikkis over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned on the second side. Transfer to the lined plate and cover loosely to keep warm.
If needed, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet. When it's hot, cook the remaining tikkis.
Serve warm, with a little tamarind-date chutney drizzled on top of each tikki.