Vikhroli Cucina

Seven unusual pakoras to make the rainy season yummier!

19 July 2017 , 0 comments / 4 likes
The monsoon season is officially here and it is time to sit by your window watching the rain come down. A cup of hot tea and a plateful of crispy, crunchy feel-good delicious bite of snacks is just the perfect way to enjoy the wet afternoon or evening.

The most popular pakoras found in India have fillings of onion, potato, spinach, paneer or bread. But ever considered biting into a crunch-covered chocolate bar, or a slice of a fresh green tomato? How about some deep fried apple or a scoop of ice cream covered in a crispy batter?

A ‘pakora’ is a fried snack that is believed to have originated in India, but can be found in various versions across the world – in Japan as tempura, in the USA as fritters, in Spain as Buñuelos. It is essentially a morsel of some stuffing covered in batter that is generally made of ‘besan’ – chickpea flour – and spices, which is then deep fried in hot oil. The basic pakora batter is made with chickpea flour (besan), water, salt, chilli powder and a touch of hing. To make it more interesting, chop in some coriander leaves, onions or chillies, or add spices such as cumin, ajwain (carom seeds) or pepper.

Here are seven fun variations on a basic filling that will be different, fun and absolutely tummy-satisfying. Forget about the calories, never mind that it is deep fried, don’t think about your waistline – just indulge!

1) Fruit: Use firm fruits like apple, pear or melon for a crispier crunch, or opt for slices of banana, dragon-fruit or even watermelon. Just remember, the more watery the fruit, the quicker you should eat the pakora, or else it will become soggy.

2) Chocolate bar: Try dunking a bar of chocolate into the batter and then dropping it into hot oil. Will you be able to wait long enough for the crust to become golden brown and delicious?

3) Pasta: Cook pasta like penne or fusilli, dunk the pieces into the batter and drop them into hot oil. You could also make a dish like macaroni and cheese, let it cool down, scoop out small bites and dunk them in the batter before deep frying them. Guaranteed to be yummy!

4) Green tomato: You’ve seen the movie starring Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy, right? While this is a traditional recipe from the Deep South in the US, a rainy afternoon is the best time to try it out. Cut a green tomato into thick slices, coat the slices with the batter, and deep fry. Careful, wait until they cool slightly, or else you could burn your tongue.

5) Chana: Boil chana until it is soft, but not squishy. Coat the chana lightly in batter and drop it into hot oil. Addictive!

6) Cashewnuts: You could either use whole cashewnuts or chop them into small pieces. The batter needs to be thicker to make sure the nuts are coated properly.

7) Ice cream: Traditionally served in Mexico as a dessert, you need to make sure that the ice cream is as hard as you can manage it to be. Scoop out a few balls of your favourite flavour and place them on a plate. Put this plate in the freezer to make sure that the ice cream is as cold and hard as possible. Then roll each ball in the batter – or you can use crushed cornflakes for a better crunch – and fry in oil. Eat quickly!

So explore your fridge, check out your larder and see what you have that would make for a fun snack if you batter-coat it and dunk it into hot oil. Remember, if it’s fried, it will taste good.

If you know or have a recipe for unusual pakora we would like to know about it....