Saturday, July 14, 2007

Monsoon magic

It's rainy weather in Delhi. Not every day rain, but often enough to make one realise it's monsoon time. There's a season I love, despite the moltingly humid days in between which can make one look and feel like a total dishrag. I love watching the rain through the screen door of my bedroom or sitting in the sheltered portion of our roof garden. Hearing the water dripping off the plants in a steady stream. Jumping into puddles and splashing myself. Squelching through the streets, the streetlamps blurry through the slanting lines of rain.

And of course, the monsoon never fails to make one long for all kinds of forbidden, high fat, fried foods of Indian persuasion. I'm sorry but french fries really doesn't cut it in the rain, I need pakoras and lots of them. There are several varieties of pakoras that we have grown up with, each crisper and yummier and more empty-calorier than the other. Too bad, it's pouring and I intend to enjoy it the way God intended, with a good book, a mug of steaming tea and a plateful of crunchy pakoras. Ciao!

Maida Pakoras


1 cup maida (plain flour)

1/2 cup natural yoghurt, ideally somewhat sour

handful curry leaves

1 tsp cumin seeds

chilli powder and salt to taste

1 cup oil

Mix the maida, yoghurt, curry leaves, cumin, salt and chilli powder to form a batter, approximately the consistency of pancake batter

Heat the oil in a wok till hot

Pour the batter in tablespoonsful, ensuring that you spread them out so that they are wide and thin pakoras

Fry till medium orangey-brown

Place on tissue to absorb the oil while you fry up the next batch

Enjoy with ketchup. These pakoras are even nice put into a coriander-yoghurt-coconut base, as a mock dahi vada

Onion pakoras


2 onions, chopped really fine

Chick pea flour/ besan - measure as needed

handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 green chilli, fnely chopped

salt and chilli powder to taste

1 cup oil for frying

Put all the ingredients but the besan (and the oil) into a pan

Add the besan little by little, kneading together until you are able to form a dumpling that holds together

Heat the oil till hot enough for frying

Put in the dumplings one by one and fry till brown and crisp. Remember to fry on medium to low flame so the insides are cooked through.

Enjoy with mint chutney or ketchup

Cheese pakoras


Plain flour - 1 cup

Processed or cheddar cheese - 100 grams - grated

1/2 cup hot water

chilli powder

1 cup oil

Heat the water until hot

Put in the grated cheese and stir till it melts.

Take off heat and slowly add the flour until the mix forms the consistency of pancake batter

Add the chilli powder and curry leaves if wanted

Heat the oil until hot enough for frying

Ladle tablespoonsful of the pakora batter and fry till crisp and brown

Enjoy with ketchup

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