Month of May: “Together: Our Community Cookbook” Recipe: Aysha Bora’s Potato Fritters with Cilantro Chutney

“We were together, I forget the rest.” Walt Whitman

Just as a template of any story has a beginning, a middle and an ending, coincidentally potato fritters also are assembled in three distinctive parts as well. How fitting this last recipe is as I come to the conclusion of my year long adventure.

The studio is now empty with key in hand ready to be released.

For weeks I have been reflecting on my original idea for a final post. Initially I thought I could summarize all the realizations and inner shifts I had experienced in this private space. But every time I gave any real attention to this possibility there just were no words, no thoughts, no feelings. Only silence stared back at me. So after returning to that particular drawing board more than a few times, I switched directions. Instead I decided to end with a letter from a time gone by yet still meaningful and alive in me to this day. It was penned on July 25th, 1991 on yellow ruled paper in black ink for Abby’s 27th birthday. Remember hand written letters? It seemed like a perfect way to say good bye to you my reader and to my transformative twelve months at 29 Portsmouth Ave. Apt. 3. I hope you will agree.

“Abby, well my friend, here it is, another birthday. Time continuing on, never stopping…like Niagara Falls. When we met I was twenty years old. We’ve known each other eight years already. Can you believe it? Look around- so much has changed in that time, imagine eight years from now. Wow- it’s exciting, it’s scary. We have been through so much together and apart. Do you remember the night it rained clear marbles at the cabin and paint dripped in color down the magic mirror? Remember crying one shared tear to Rickie Lee Jones’ “We Belong Together”? I remember you sending me your pencil portrait for one birthday and on the back of it you wrote, “Who has the words to close the distance between you and me?” But deep inside we knew there was little distance between us, between our hearts and souls. How I longed to be near you then. Remember the year you came out to Sodus and took the train with Rita and little Chasca potato? You gave me a handwoven scarf. Remember the cross section of the cerebellum I made for you?- that was for your 25th. I remember patiently carving out the paper with an exacto knife. Remember the birthday when Rita was a newborn- things were rocky for us that year. I gave you a Mexican cotton handbag with shells and rocks. Remember the poem I wrote about Gordy and our bubble acid day? What every happened to that? Funny…memories to us now. And here another one in the making. I suppose the gift of brandy is symbolic of the hard times right now. I want you to know and never forget, I am always here for you. I am always open to listen. You can cry and slobber on my shoulder anytime, whatever it is you want to do. I am here for you during your hard times as well as the good. There is nothing or no one that can come between our love as you are my sister. I love you so deeply and I feel the love you have for me. I appreciate everything about you. Communicating with you is so easy. Don’t be afraid to feel, don’t be afraid to cry, laugh from your gut, run in the woods. You have a lot of healing to do. Feel and let go. Take your time, it doesn’t have to be all figured out now- there’s time and we are young. You are an incredibly beautiful person Abby and I love you forever. We are blessed with life, blessed with a friendship rare in these times.” Becca

Ingredients: Potato filling: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 inch piece of freshly grated ginger, 1 green chile seeded and finely chopped, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 lb mashed potato, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tsp sugar, salt, 6.5 cups sunflower oil, Batter: 1.5 cups chickpea flour, 1/4 tsp asafoetida, 1/2 tsp baking soda. 1 tbsp olive oil, 3/4 water, Chutney: 4 cups chopped cilantro, 3 peeled garlic cloves, 4 green chiles, 7 tbsp water, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup yogurt.

Beginning: Make the potato filling. Boil potatoes and mash. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat and add ginger, chile, turmeric and cilantro, cook for 1 minute. Add mashed potato, lemon juice, sugar and salt, mix well. Taste for seasoning and transfer to a plate, spread out and let cool for 20 minutes. When cooled off, divide into 10-12 balls and put in refrigerator for 25 minutes.

Middle: Make batter with all batter ingredients and mix with a whisk to form a smooth mixture. Put in refrigerator. Make the cilantro chutney by adding all chutney ingredients into a food processor until desired consistency and set aside.

Ending: Heat the oil until it reaches 350 F. Coat the balls into the batter mixture and carefully fry 2-3 balls at a time until golden about 3-4 minutes or less. Transfer to a plate with paper towels and repeat in batches. Serve hot with cilantro chutney.

One Reply to “Month of May: “Together: Our Community Cookbook” Recipe: Aysha Bora’s Potato Fritters with Cilantro Chutney”

  1. Again, thank you for sharing. You bring her back for a few precious moments. Love, j

    P.s. She would have been out there in Minneapolis…………… we’re going to a protest in Viroqua tonight. I am in tears off and on all the time now…….


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