Aunty Esme's Potato Chop

Sunanda's mother Aunty Esme briefly tempted me off my diet with the most sinful combination of all that is not allowed; potatoes, meat and deep fry. With superhuman exercise of  will, I restricted myself to just half but the drool covered the entire floor. The object of temptation was something that landed up from foreign shores, but became distinctively Indian – in this case East Indian.

Its the Potato Chop.

The actual item is rather simple, a mashed potato shell filled with mince of some kind, coated in breadcrumbs and fried. A great potato chop is a perfect balance of the fatty smooth goodness of the potato contrasted with the crunch of the outer crust and the chewy, spicy flavour-burst of the mince inside. Maybe it was all that self control, but yesterday's potato chops were the best I've had in a while. The potatoes seemed more luscious, the mince juicier, the crumbed outer more perfect.


I find the naming of "potato chop" quite amusing. The East Indians of Mumbai as well as those Indians who actually live in the east – Bengalis – have both adopted this form enthusiastically if in slightly different ways. The East Indians focus on the humble shell of mashed potato while the Bengalis highlight the fancier filling – mutton chops, or prawn or veggie. Both communities inherited the name from a fundamental misconception; when the British mems taught their desi cooks the popular breaded veal chop, the cooks got the dish right but the terminology wrong. The "chop" the mems referred to was a cut of pork or veal; the desi cooks applied it to the form rather than the substance - any potato encased crumb-fried stuffed savoury, even vegetarian, became "chops". They should properly be called croquettes.

There aren't that many places to buy a Potato Chop in Bandra. An old lady sits on the Chimbhai side of St. Andrews Church at around 7pm selling a range of them, as does a man on D'Monte Road (if you can find him or the road). Kalpana Snacks in a Bandra bylane behind St. Peters Church makes some, Mikneil tucked away in a tiny nook on St. Pauls Road will have them, A1 Bakery has a passable imitation, Bandra club will sell passable ones if you can get someone to take you, Bandra Fest and Christmas Fair will have some stalls – that's it.

Basically, make sure to be on Aunty Esme's right side. Because its worth it.


  1. How sweet! :)
    I have had homemade potato chops...the recipe is enlisted in the East Indian Cookbook.It's also made by Maharashtrians and called Kheema health conscious folks make it with Chicken Kheema.

  2. The Parsis have their own version which is called the 'pattice'. Basically a tasty filling, meat or otherwise, encased in soft mashed potato, crumbed, dipped in egg and deep fried. Pattice comes from the word 'patties' I guess and is the Parsi Gujarati version.
    We make a mean array of pattice in the DE kitchen :)

    Auntie Esme's potato chops look absolutely divine and since I have all the ingredients at hand, I'm going to make some soon!

  3. Oh, look at that! I can see how juicy the kheema is! I love the chop/pattice in all its avatars. Even the seasonal Leela Vatana Pay-tiss (Green peas pattice) that the Gujjus make!

  4. you are a lucky guy...our first experience with potato chop was at Mark's cold storage. we used to call them beef bombs. Unfortunately they don't stock them now...Candies keeps mutton and chops and veg chops too...but i am sure Aunty Esme's would be special...@Sassy no self respecting East Indian or Goan would use chicken kheema

  5. Liked the post…

  6. Wow! Mashed potato+keema+fried. Can't say no to that!



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