I recall the time mom sent me to the sweet shop round the corner to fetch a few rupees worth of pakoras (deep fried vegetables coated in gram flour paste) each time guests arrived. Though I enjoyed running down the road and back in a few minutes, what I looked forward to more was getting to “taste” a few before deciding on which ones to buy (even though I was under instructions to get a particular kind).
Last weekend, not quite knowing what to make, I decided on making the pakora at home. The nice thing about this is one can take almost any “crisp” vegetable that wouldn’t “mash” when heated. Among these are potato, onion, whole chilli (red or green), cauliflower, eggplant and spinach leaves!
However, I made four kinds – cauliflower, potato, onion and onion and potato mixed! These are extremely simple to make but require a heavy dose of oil to deep fry in.
All you have to do is to cut the potato into thin round slices, cauliflower into small florets, onion into thing strips and, for the mixed, finely chopped potato and onion. Keep them all separately.
In a large dish, take 500 grams of besan (gram flour) and add a teaspoon of red chilli powder, half a teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste, a teaspoon of mango powder, salt to taste, two finely-chopped green chillies, ajwain (bishop’s weed or carom) and mix in water until it turns into a mildly-thick paste.
Heat a litre of oil in a large deep pan and when it is fully heated, put in the vegetables after dipping into the besan mixture. Do it separately for all the different vegetables and fry until it becomes orange brown. remove and drain. Serve hot.
The pakoras go very well with either bread or flatbread!