Thursday, 10 July 2014

Pakoras - Vegetable Fritters

Petrichor, yes, that's the word! That's the word to describe that beautiful, heady, scent of the first rain, when the rain drops hit the parched, dry earth. It is the scent we wait for all Summer. It is the scent of relief. It is the scent of rejuvenation. For me, it is the scent that encapsulates the magic of the Monsoons!
There will be time later to complain about the leaky roofs, the clogged drains, the broken roads, the flooded lanes, the smelly clothes and the smellier people. But, not now. Now is about the romance of the first rains!

And what do we Indians love to have during the rains?? Pakoras and steaming chai, of course!! Make them at home or have them at a dhaba, they are inextricably linked with the rains.
For this batch, I have used onions but the ingenious Indian home cook uses a variety of vegetables. Think spinach, corn, potatoes, cauliflower or even brinjal. There's something about these deep fried, spicy pakoras when eaten and then washed down with a cup of steaming chai or a glass of chilled beer, that awakens the senses and simply, heightens the magic!
What about you.. do you love the rains?? or hate 'em?

serves 2
  • 1/8 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • some coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon yoghurt (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • In a large bowl, mix together the chickpea flour, chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, green chilli, chopped coriander and salt until well combined. Gradually add water as necessary to bind the mixture. You are aiming for a thick mixture.
  • Add the sliced onion. Stir well to coat the onion in the mixture. Set aside for 10-12 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a kadhai (an Indian wok) or a deep heavy-based frying pan until a small portion of the mixture sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
  • Add spoonfuls of the batter mixture to the hot oil in batches. Fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Repeat the process with the remaining batter mixture.
  • To serve, serve with chutney.

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