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Dosa-spiced potato cakes with quick cucumber pickle

Dosa cakes for web

The best breakfast I have ever eaten was a masala dosa in Fort Cochin, Kerala. This is how I like to work the deep, fragrant, southern Indian flavours into my day. It’s an anytime dish with big flavour hitters in the shape of curry leaves and black mustard seeds, which give the potato the warm subtle punch that is the deeply clever balance of southern Indian food. This is how I almost always use up my leftover mashed potato. Any root veg mash works well here but I find potato takes on the flavours best. Mashing avocado with these spices is a revelation – I eat this on toast at least once a week.

If curry leaves aren’t easy to get, you can just leave them out. However, curry leaves are wonderful, and if you haven’t come across them before, try to get your hands on some. They have a curious but delicious flavour, and add depth in a way that is difficult to explain, much like a truffle does. I buy a few packets whenever I see them – a lot of supermarkets stock them these days. Store them in a sandwich bag in the freezer and tumble a few out as you need them. They are addictive and also very good for you. They can be mixed with lime and a pinch of sugar in hot water to aid digestion.

1 hr
Dosa cakes for web



  • olive or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 4 large potatoes, boiled, drained and coarsely mashed, or 4 big spoons of leftover mash
  • 4 tablespoons cooked puy lentils
  • 50g spinach, washed and dried
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and destined
  • juice of 1⁄2 a lemon


  • 1⁄2 a cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, bashed in a pestle and mortar
  • a pinch of sugar or a squeeze of agave syrup
  • grated zest and juice of 1⁄2 an unwaxed lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and fry the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft and sweet. Add the mustard seeds and stand back while they pop. Scoop out a heaped tablespoon of the onion mixture and put to one side to cool.

  2. With the pan still on the heat, add the turmeric and curry leaves and fry for another minute or so, then put the whole lot into a bowl to cool slightly.

  3. Add the mashed potato and lentils to the onions, then season and mix well. Wilt the spinach in a hot pan with a little oil then add this to the potato mixture. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape them into 4 potato cakes. Put them into the fridge to chill while you do a couple of other little jobs.

  4. In another bowl, mash the avocados with the lemon juice (you can use a potato masher here), then stir in the tablespoon of the onion you set aside. Mix, then season well.

  5. To make your pickle, put the sliced cucumber into a bowl and add all the other pickle ingredients. Using your hands, scrunch the cucumber slices to get the flavours going.

  6. Now put your frying pan back on the heat. Take the potato cakes out of the fridge and fry them gently and carefully in a little oil for about 2–3 minutes on each side, until warmed through and crispy brown. Serve each dosa cake piled with the mustard seed, onion and mashed avocado and with a sprightly spoonful of pickle on the side.

Additional information

Wrap uncooked potato cakes in greaseproof and put in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Freeze for up to 2 months.

As featured in

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A Modern Way to Eat

"Packed full of delicious, healthy recipes that are quick and easy to make, A Modern Way To Eat is a totally modern take on vegetarian cooking." With over 200 recipes that are as simple to make as they are nourishing, satisfying and truly tasty. Based on how Anna likes to cook and eat every day.

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