the appetizer:

My Indian Kitchen, Preparing Delicious Indian Meals Without Fear or Fuss by Hari Nayak includes recipes like Crispy Masala Fish Fingers Macchi Kae Pakorae; Marinated Roast Leg of Lamb Raan Masaledar; and Potato and Onion Fritters Aloo aur Pyaz kae Pakora.

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Potato and Onion Fritters

Aloo aur Pyaz kae Pakora

Potato and Onion Fritters

Serves 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


Traditionally known as pakora, bhajis or bhajiyas, these fried morsels are a very popular street food of India and are a common item on every Indian restaurant menu. They are served with chutney or even tomato ketchup and are ideally eaten hot and crisp right out of the pan because they get soggy as they cool. I like to use the double-fry method, which entails lightly frying the pakoras in advance, allowing them to cool and then either refrigerating them in an airtight container or ziplock bags for up to a week or freezing them up to a month. To reheat, I bring them to room temperature before refrying them in hot oil. Serve pakoras with one or more chutneys of your choice or tomato ketchup.

1. Mix together the onion, potatoes, spinach, chickpea flour, fresh coriander leaves, ginger, green chili pepper, coriander seeds, Asian chili powder or cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Gradually mix in the water to make a thick batter. (Onions will expel water, so adjust the quantity of water based on the consistency.)

2. Heat 2 inches of oil in a kadhai, small wok or large saucepan over medium heat to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. To gauge the temperature of the oil without a thermometer, drop a piece of bread about 1-inch (2.5-cm) square into the oil, turning the piece of bread often as the oil heats up. When the oil reaches 325 degrees F (160 degrees C), the bread will begin to brown quickly and turn golden brown all over—like a crouton—in about 40 seconds.

3. Using a metal spoon, take a small portion of batter and shape roughly into a ball. Carefully drop it into the hot oil, and continue with the rest of the batter, frying them in batches to as not to overcrowd. Deep-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until the pakoras are cooked and have a crunchy, evenly browned exterior. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately while still hot.

NOTE Chickpea flour, also known as besan, is a finely ground flour made from chickpeas (chana dal). It is widely used all over India to make breads and batters for coating deepfried vegetables and also to thicken sauces. When using chickpea flour it is crucial to sift it. Sifting gets rid of any lumps and incorporates air into the flour for a smooth texture. Chickpea flour is available in any South Asian grocery store or online (see Shopping Guide, page 155 of the book)


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This page created October 2011