In my world, pakoras are Saturdays - or at least, they used to be. During the summer months, on Saturdays, my parents would go to the farmer's market and pick up some homemade pakoras and samosas from a local vendor. I of course was 17 and too cool to be seen in public with them. However, upon their arrival back home, it was the perfect treat for a mini version of myself that was most likely a touch hungover. Actually, it's the perfect treat for anyone. These are some serious flavour bombs. Flavour nuclear warheads, to be exact. If you're particularly health conscious, you can always tell yourself that they are healthy because they are just vegetables. Or, if you're like me, you can just eat 400 of them and feel like a piece of shit for the rest of the day. After all, saturdays are a treat (until you work in the bar industry).
Little known fact, but my old stomping grounds Terrace, B.C. (oh man, still trying to forget about that) has one of the highest Sikh populations per capita. Being a fanatic of the South Asian cuisine, this was a blessing, because we had an assortment of great Indian restaurants. Okay, assortment is a bit of an overstatement. There were two of them. But in my defense, they were both amazing. If you need further convincing, I will have no problem using Jedi mind tricks... or back, back, B (if you're well versed in the Mortal Kombat series). Either way, since then I have only gone out for South Asian cuisine twice (once being a total disaster because we thought we could handle 7/10 on the spice scale. That would be great, except that south Asian spice and North American spice are two completely different realms of pain), so I have been craving these for some time now.
It's almost a shame that this is my first time cooking these for myself. Although part of growing older is understanding our capabilities. I, for one, have been cursed with the ability to get injured doing mundane tasks (pretty sure it's genetic... thanks G'pa). Hot oil = pain. 'Nuff said. However, this week is our blog/cookbook challenge. Challenge might be a bit overkill, but never the less, we are supposed to engage in a recipe from another blog or cookbook. So, as I was cruising through blogs hoping for some sort of inspiration I came across Majulas Kitchen. Up until this point, I would have never considered making pakora on my own, but in the spirit of giving everything the old fashioned college try... Cowabunga dudes.
1 cup Besan (Chickpea flour)
1/4 cup Rice flour (Optional)
1 tsp Garam Marsala
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander (dhania), coarsely ground
1 tsp Cumin (jeera), coarsely ground
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
3 cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Water
1/2 cup Cilantro (hara dhania), coarsely chopped
1 Sweet potato, small cubes
1/4 head Cauliflower, small florets
1 Onion, diced
**A variety of vegetables go great in pakora.
Oil (for frying)
- Combined 10 ingredients into a blender and mix until a pancake-like batter is formed. If it is too runny add more besan, if it is too thick add more water. Set aside for 30 minutes so flavours can mature.
- Boil potato for 5-10 minutes to allow to partially cook. Strain, then add to the rest of the vegetables. Combine the batter, vegetables, and cilantro and mix until every piece of vegetable is evenly coated.
- Bring 1.5 inches of oil in a large wok up to 350* (a small drip of batter should float and brown in 30-45 seconds). Using a tablespoon carefully place a dollop of the mixture into the oil (4-5 should fit into the wok at one time). Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until batter is brown.
- Remove from the oil and place on a plate with paper towel to soak up the unwanted oil. Serve immediately. Goes well with a variety of chutneys.
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Stay rad - h