The monsoons are here, and that means spending evenings on the balcony, with a cup of cutting chai and piping pakoras, to be shared with friends and family as you watch the rains bring back life to the city after the intense ordeal of summer.
The most common snack of the country, pakoras are deep fried snacks, with a crunchy crisp layer of besan (Bengal Gram flour) on the outside, and a moist centre consisting of various ingredients, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Pair it with a dash of tamarind or mint chutney, and voila! It’s ready to be feasted upon. And while everyone is aware of the usual aloo-paneer-pyaaz affair, we bring to you a few lip smacking varieties, which are sure to brighten your evenings even more.
1. Brinjal/Eggplant Fritters
It is quite common in the eastern part of the country, where it is known as “Beguni”. Thin slices of brinjal, dipped in the batter and fried to perfection. If you can’t have a slice of heaven, you can always have these. Same difference.
2. Corn Pakoras
Take boiled corn kernels in a bowl and mix it with chopped onions, chillies, ginger, besan and some salt and spices. Add water to this dry mix to such that the batter achieves perfect consistency. Drop it in hot oil by spoonfuls. Fry till golden brown and they’re done! Sprinkle some chaat masala before serving them.
3. Gobhi Pakoras
Replace the aloo in your recipe for aloo ke pakore with parboiled cauliflower, and surprise your family by serving the old gobhi in a new avatar.
4. Bhindi Pakoras
Are you one of those who steer clear from having this vegetable because of the slimy texture it develops after cooking? Well that problem is solved with bhindi pakoras. The deep frying crisps it up, and all you are left with is mouthful of crunchy goodness.
5. Moong Dal Pakoras
This is the best alternative to go for if you want try something different from the usual besan coated fritters. Soak two cups of moong daal overnight. Drain and grind in a food processor with very little water, to form a coarse paste. To that add chopped onion, ginger, coriander, chillies and salt and cumin powder to taste. Fry it till golden brown in bite sized pieces, and serve it with a dash of lemon juice and condiments of your choice.
6. Rajasthani Mirch Vada
A popular street snack, this is a dish relished where you can relish a whole mirch (or even more) without worrying about burning off your taste buds. Take large green chillies, slit them along the side and de seed them carefully. Stuff them anything that catches your fancy – from mashed potatoes to lamb keema, the possibilities are endless. Dip them in the batter and fry them to perfection one by one.
7. Bhang ke Pakore
The go to snack for Holi, Bhang ke pakore is a delicacy everyone must try once in their life. Follow your recipe for mixed vegetable pakora, and add bhang seed powder. Fry them as you would do usually, and you will have your plate full of Bhaang ke pakore ready to serve.