Skip to main content

This recipe has been tested by staff at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in an American kitchen. The cooks who participated in the Kenya program of the Festival, who can be heard on the accompanying podcast were cooking in the outdoor kitchen at the event, and their recipes are designed for Kenyan climates and kitchens. Thus, cook with discretion. Good luck!


Originating in India, this tasty treat of deep fried potatoes made its way to Kenya with Indian immigrants and has become a favorite snack to eat at all hours of the day. This is a great snack to make for unexpected guests as it is quick and easy!


  • 1 pound gram (chickpea or garbanzo) flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 medium to large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Hot Chili Dipping Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon tamarind, concentrate (available in specialty food aisles)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix together the gram flour, salt, onion, and minced garlic.
  • Add water until batter is smooth and a little thin; approximately 2 ¾ cups water. If it is too thick, continue adding water. Consistency should be like pancake batter.
  • Peel and cut potatoes into thin slices, then add to batter mixture and combine until potatoes are evenly coated.
  • Optional step: add cilantro to mixture.
  • Add baking powder to help batter rise, and let sit for approximately fifteen minutes. Heat oil in a large wok until very hot and begin deep frying batter-covered potatoes, gently flipping once to let all sides become golden. Do not stir or the batter will come off the potatoes.
  • For the hot chili dipping sauce, mix together tamarind concentrate, salt, lime juice, and cayenne pepper.
  • Serve potatoes while they are still warm and crispy with dipping sauce for an appetizer or a side dish.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.