Potato Balls Guyanese Style


If you are Guyanese you will certainly have grown up eating this favorite food. It’s vegetarian and is made with a tasty mashed potato seasoned with fragrant spices and coated in a batter made of ground chick peas and then fried until golden brown. As I do not have yellow split peas readily available here in Haiti, I always stock up on a new favorite ” Ladoo Besan” or gram flour when I am in the USA. It keeps really well in the freezer. It’s chick pea flour and is now easily found in Indian supermarkets or health food stores. It is gluten-free and as such has become quite a favorite for people who observe a gluten-free diet.The Guyanese coating is often made of a pholourie batter. The traditional batter is a laborious process as the split peas have to be soaked and ground. My method eliminates this lengthy process. If you are lucky to find in a ready-made packet available, thisis a wonderful substitute for the batter as well. As I do not have this available where I live, I make everything my way, hence the chick pea flour (besam flour) recipe.

These potato balls are not difficult to make and are a delicious appetizer or as part of an Indian dinner. They are wonderful served with sweet mango chutney or a green mango spicy achar. I also like to serve them with a tamarind sauce when I have tamarind on hand. If none of those options are available, some good West Indian pepper sauce will suffice.

Makes about 12 Potato Balls

 Mashed Potato Filling

Ingredients 

4 medium size potatoes, quartered and boiled in salted water, drained and crushed


1/4 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp finely chopped parsley 

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

1 tsp hot pepper finely chopped *optional

2 tsp finely chopped onion

A good sprinkle of black pepper 

Note that I did not list salt here as my potatoes were adequately salted in the boiling process. If you need to add additional salt you may do so, but please taste the potatoes before adding additional salt.

Mix the seasonings into the mashed potatoes and combine well. I use a food mill as this gives me a very smooth texture. 

Set aside while you prepare the batter.

Batter ingredients 

1/2 cup chick pea flour ( Ladoo Besan / gram flour)

1/2 cup All purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder 

1/4 tsp tumeric

2 tsp finely chopped chives

1/4 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic finely chopped or pressed 

3/4 cup water

Method for making the batter: 

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and spices. 

Add the water and mix together well. 

Add the garlic and chives and combine ensuring that there are no lumps.

Using a cookie scoop or a spoon measure equal balls of the mashed potato, rolling in your palms to make a round form.


Heat 1 1/2 cups oil in a pan. Dip the potato balls into the batter coating completely. When the oil is heated through, fry 3  or 4 at a time. Do not over crown the pan or they will stick to each other. Fry until golden and remove onto a platter with a few sheets of paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Serve warm with your favorite condiments. My choice is something spicy like a mango or tamarind chutney. If you have not had these in a while, I hope you try them. They will bring back a bit of nostalgia. If you’ve never had them, you should absolutely try them.

Warm potato balls with a crispy exterior and a moist cumin flavored potato filling. A Mango pepper sauce is the condiment on the plate for an added zing. 

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