You Can Make This Michelin-Starred Chef’s Bombay Sliders at Home

Ajay Walia's menu standout at Saffron has a "cult-like" following for a reason

December 2, 2022 6:08 am
The Bombay Sliders from chef Ajay Walia's restaurant Saffron (and, previously, Rasa). Here's the recipe.
The Bombay Sliders from chef Ajay Walia's restaurant Saffron (and, previously, Rasa).
Kristen Loken

When chef Ajay Walia closed his Michelin-starred Rasa and reopened it as Saffron earlier this year, regulars were terrified, he recalls, of one possible eventuality: that his Bombay Sliders would disappear.

“It is the most desired item on the menu, with a cult-like following,” he says, adding that people were so afraid it would be absent from the new menu that “they sent me personal emails to get a promise that it wouldn’t be removed.”

Luckily, Walia had no plans to get rid of this dish, which had been on the menu since before the Michelin star. 

A common street food in India, these sliders, he says, “are a quick bite meant to be a placeholder between meals.” While in their more traditional iteration they are often sold by the piece, he decided to serve two with a salad at the restaurant. And while no two recipes are alike, varying from vendor to vendor, his unique take blends influences from both the north and the south for a unique explosion of flavors, marrying sweetness and tang, spiciness and a moreish crunch.

The patties themselves are naturally vegetarian and gluten-free, made with a potato base bulked up with veggies and seasoned with spices like coriander, garam masala and gunpowder chili powder, a blend Walia says can be obtained from any Indian grocery store. The patties are then battered in a combo of gram and rice flour seasoned with even more vibrant spices before being fried and sandwiched on soft rolls seasoned with chili powder and browned in ghee. House-made tamarind and cilantro-mint chutneys are the perfect finishing touch. He provided recipes for both, which can be made up to five days in advance, but in a pinch, both can be purchased from Indian grocers or even some restaurants.

Either way, they’re a phenomenal finishing touch for these crowd-pleasing bites.

Chef Ajay Walia's Bombay Sliders

Servings: 25-35 patties

  • For the patties:
  • 1 kg (2¼ lb) potatoes
  • 50 ml (3⅓ Tbsp) oil
  • 25 g (about 8 cloves) chopped garlic
  • 100 g red onion (about 1 small onion), chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp gunpowder chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 50 g (about ½ cup) chopped cauliflower
  • 50 g (about ½ cup) chopped green beans
  • 1 bunch chopped coriander leaves
  • Frying oil
  • For the batter:
  • 16 oz besan (gram) flour
  • 6 oz rice flour
  • 2 pinches turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • For the sliders:
  • 24 small, sweet rolls
  • Gunpowder spice
  • Ghee or butter
  • Pickled onions and jalapenos (recipe below)
  • Tamarind chutney (recipe below)
  • Mint chutney (recipe below)
  • Making the sliders:
    1. First, make the batter. Combine flour and spices in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, then add water, little by little, to make the consistency of a batter. Set aside. 

    2. Next, make the patties. Boil the potatoes until soft and set aside. In a saucepan, combine the oil, cumin seeds and garlic. Sauté until golden brown. Add onion and sauté well. Add all of the spices, and sauté well. Season with salt.

    3. Add the cauliflower and green beans; cook until soft.

    4. Peel the potatoes and smash them. Add the coriander leaves and seasoned vegetables. Mix together.

    5. Heat frying oil in a deep pan. Form the mixture into 1.5-inch patties, and coat the patties in batter. Fry the patties over medium heat until the batter turns golden brown and looks cooked.

    6. As the sliders are frying, prepare the rolls. Slice them lengthwise, then sprinkle gunpowder on the inside of each half. Toast the rolls in a pan with ghee or butter for added spice and crunch.

    7. Add pickled onions and jalapenos, a spoonful of tamarind chutney and a spoonful of mint chutney. Serve immediately.

  • Making the mint chutney:
    1. Ingredients:
      16 oz (2 bunches) mint leaves
      8 oz (1 bunch) cilantro
      2 Tbsp plain yogurt
      *Pinch of black salt

    2. Directions:
      Blend all of the ingredients to make a fine paste. *Black salt adds an extra flavor dimension that regular salt doesn’t.

  • Making the tamarind chutney:
    1. Ingredients:
      24 oz tamarind, fresh pods
      16 oz brown sugar
      2 Tbsp chai masala
      1 Tbsp cumin powder
      1 tsp black salt

    2. Directions:
      Discard the tamarind seeds, and boil the juice and pulp with the other ingredients. Reduce until chunky.

  • Making the pickled onions and jalapenos:
    1. Ingredients:
      8 oz (1 small) red onion, sliced
      8 oz (6 to 8 medium) jalapenos, cut in strips
      1 tsp whole garam masala
      30 oz water
      6 oz red wine vinegar
      3 Tbsp sugar

    2. Directions:
      Combine the onion and jalapeno in a large, heatproof bowl. In a pot, bring the water, vinegar, garam masala and sugar to a boil, then pour the hot mixture into the bowl. Cover and set aside for at least an hour before using.


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