Chennai is normally Hot, with a Capital “H”! And just now it began raining. I am sure that all those leaving schools and offices are drenched and miserable, because who carries an umbrella in Namma Chennai, no?
But the rains are the perfect weather for snacking as well. Tea time is more interesting during this weather and what better snack than Pakodas!
I have tried making pakodas before. The first time was not a charm but then I got the hang of it. The only trouble was that they were not staying crisp for a long time like the store bought ones do. If I made a batch before lunch, come tea time, it wouldn’t be as crisp as it was. In just a matter of a few hours, it would have lost that noisy crunch, but it would still be flavourful.
The last time I made pakodas I accidentally discovered the remedy to this issue. It was very simple. Usually, I would add the dry ingredients, mix them up and then add water and make a thick paste. But, this time I was absent minded enough to mix up the dry ingredients and dump my vegetables into this dry mixture! And that made the difference.
Normally, as a quick fix, I make onion pakodas. But one can experiment with anything I guess. I have tried paneer pakodas and now with vazhaipoo (banana flower).
What went into it?
Besan, Rice flour. I added them in the ration of one cup of besan to one table spoon of rice flour.
Perunjeeragam(fennel), dry ginger powder, salt, chilli powder, a pinch of garam masala powder, a pinch of asafoetida powder, jeera powder, turmeric. You can also add garlic powder if you like.
The quantity of these powders is not precisely measured. Go with your taste buds.
I also add pepper or chilli flakes depending on what I making pakodas out of. And of course, I tend to add a lot of curry leaves. Chop them a la julienne or to match your veggies. (I tend to cut one big onion into inch long not too thin julienne pieces so the curry leaves would match them. But when I made paneer pakoda, I cut the curry leaves in half.) So too with the spices. Red onions are spicier are therefore I added less chilli powder. Like I said before, use your taste buds and your imagination. The flavours involved need to create a symphony for your taste buds. (You know what you like, as well as the likes of those whom you shall share your pakodas with. Make the flavours match that.)
Once you get all the dry ingredients, mix them well. And then dump your vegetables into this dry mixture. Make sure all your vegetables are coated well with this dry mix.
Add in a few (3-4) teaspoons of oil to this and mix it in. Then some water as well, to bind everything together. You do not need too much water for this. Just enough to make everything stick together to be spooned into the oil.
That is it. Now all that’s left is to heat the oil, and spoon in your pakodas into it. Fry them till they are golden brown all over. And enjoy!
I made a batch of vazhaipoo pakodas before lunch. We had them for lunch and then later during tea time as a snack as well. Pictured below is the lunch plate. Rice with tapioca in coconut curry, beetroot poriyal(again with grated coconut, and those crispy-crunchy vazahipoo pakodas.
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