Doesn’t this picture make comfort food look healthy? What better way to take a perfectly health vegetable and turn into deep-fried goodness. You don’t have to ask me twice to take seconds! Pakora is the Indian word for ‘fritter’ referring to fried foods. It’s a word more commonly used outside of the United States. They make excellent appetizers and finger foods- you’ll be sure to impress your guests at dinner parties! Pakoras are extremely popular in India- you’ll find them anywhere from 5 star restaurants to road side joints, known as Dhabas. I’d say these little gems might be the closest thing India has to a fast food drive thru at the moment.
A little more information, you can make a Pakora from almost anything, once you make them a few times, I dare you to tap into your adventurous side and experiment with other veggies like onions (see my post on Onion Pakoras– one of my favorites) or zucchini slices. You can even use meats- but I’ll get to that in a later post, so stay tuned!
Normally, I will make most things from scratch, but for this recipe I am trying to make it easier on you by not making you start from the scratch. If you have a local Indian store nearby look for Medu Vadai Mix there should be several brands for you to choose from. If you want to make it from scratch then follow recipe below, otherwise don’t use the Besan flour.
Makes about 20 pieces.
2 cups (250g / 8.8 oz) Besan (also known as: Chickpea Flour or Gram Flour)
1 green chili pepper, sliced
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon of Red Chili Powder
¼ teaspoon of Black pepper Powder/crushed Black Peppers
1 cup of water
20 small white mushrooms. Wash them in the strainer and keep aside. Dry well.
2 cups of Canola oil for frying.
1. Large mixing bowl with a lid (My trick is to use a large plate as a lid)
2. Deep frying pan/fryer
3. Frying spoon (basically a large metal spoon – don’t put plastic in hot oil, it will melt!)
4. Large plate covered with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
5. Tablespoon to drop the (fritters) in the hot oil (optional). I use this to minimize the splashing of hot oil. Normally, the mushrooms are dipped in the batter and dropped carefully,
direct into the heated oil by hand.
Make the batter by mixing all the first three dry ingredients and then add the cup of water. Mix well with a fork and cover the bowl with a lid. Leave for 15 minutes.
Add enough oil it the frying pan and set the heat to medium heat until the oil is hot enough. About 5 minutes.
Lower the heat and add the mushrooms to the batter, coat them well and carefully drop them in batches into the oil. You will be able to add about 5 at a time.
Raise the heat to medium and fry them till they are golden brown. You will have to turn them around from time to
time so that they do not get burnt on any side and become evenly golden brown. It is important to the lower the heat while adding the batter to reduce the possibility of splashing hot oil.
Serve them with Green Chutney of your choice /Tamarind Chutney/Tomato Ketchup.