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1 Best Kept Secrets: Batata Saung Recipe | Riot of Flavours
Amchi Chitrapur Saraswat Traditional Vegetarian

Best Kept Secrets: Batata Saung

January 15, 2014

I was born and brought up as a Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin. Sounds quite heavy duty, no? Otherwise called Bhanap, this small community is mainly concentrated in Karnataka and can trace its origins to Kashmir. Our cuisine, however, is anything but like that from Kashmir. Mainly vegetarian, the food is simple, easy to prepare and delicious. When I was little, ‘amchi’ food – as it is called colloquially – would be prepared by my mother regularly, sometimes interspersed with other dishes.

Contrary to common thought, ‘amchi’ food is different from its Mangalorean and Goan cousins. Predominantly vegetarian, the cuisine covers a large variety of vegetables and at least five different ways in which each can be prepared. The Rasachandrika – the Bible for all Amchi women – covers each and every recipe from the Bhanap cuisine.

When Perzen of BawiBride asked me to contribute to the making of her e-book, Best Kept Secrets, I jumped at the opportunity.  The question was which dish should I choose? There are so many – the quintessential Dali Thoy (a simple preparation of Tuvar dal with a curry leaf and red chilli tempering) or Tambli-Bendi (a combination of a coconut curry that is served with rice combined with a tamarind and red chilli curry with white beans) or even the Kayras (a coconut preparation using beans, capsicum, carrots and peanuts). Each has its own uniqueness, its own flavours.

Then, I asked my husband, who is a non-amchi, and he agreed that Batata Saung (yes, it is pronounced ‘song’) was definitely something different and really easy to make. Saung is a simple potato preparation made using onions, boiled potatoes, chilli powder and tamarind. The original recipe calls for whole dried fiery byadgi red chillies that are ground along with the tamarind. But, I follow the recipe like my mum would make it.


Print Recipe
Batata Saung
A typical Chitrapur Saraswat preparation...
Course side dish
Cuisine indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course side dish
Cuisine indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
  1. In a kadhai, heat the oil and add the jeera till it splutters.
  2. Immediately add the chopped onions and saute till they start turning golden.
  3. Add the chilli powder and continue to saute on a medium flame.
  4. In the meanwhile, pour the water in a small vessel and add the tamarind.
  5. Keep this on the boil till the tamarind disintegrates.
  6. Now, add the cubed potatoes to the onion-chilli powder mixture and stir with a light hand till the potatoes are coated all over.
  7. Finally, add the tamarind water and some of the (maybe 1/2 tsp) tamarind pulp, pressing it through a sieve.
  8. Add salt to taste, cover and let the dish simmer. The consistency of the gravy should be thick.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with some steaming rice and dal.
Recipe Notes

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  • Anonymous September 12, 2014 at 14:56

    I think in the original version jeera is not used for tempering. Also coconut oil is used for tempering

  • Shanti September 20, 2014 at 06:00

    Thanks 🙂 Yes, this is certainly not the original version like I mentioned above. It is how my Amma makes it!

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