I love the rain, like most Indians do, except the poor souls living in Mumbai who wonder each day whether the floods will be back. Each time I wake up to a grey, cloudy sky, my heart starts dancing and I look forward in eager anticipation to curling up with lots of hot tea and a thrilling new book as well as some otherwise forbidden snacks. The rains just seem tailor-made for high-calorie, hot, spicy and fried snacks.
This Sunday opened on a beautifully rainy day - from early in the morning when we awoke, it was pouring and the sky was so leaden it didn't look like the rain would let up all day. My daughter and I sat out on our rooftop garden and enjoyed the spattering from the splashing rain and watched our plants preen themselves in the lush weather. Perfect weather for family favourite - Maida pakoras.
These pakoras are really simple to make and stay crisp for ages. Eaten fresh and crisp, they are unbeatable, served up with some cardamom tea.
1 cup plain flour
1/2 - 3/4 cups sour homemade yoghurt ( you can use store bought and non-sour but the taste is much better when the yoghurt is slightly sour)
I handful curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds, whole
Salt and red chilli powder to taste
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients together into a flowy paste, adding the yoghurt slowly. Add more/ less yoghurt as needed, to get the consistency right - it should be like pancake batter. Heat the oil in a wok. Put in a drop of batter to see if the oil is hot enough - when it is, the drop of batter will float up quickly, turning brown.
Pour the batter into the oil, one tbsp at a time, and fry till goldern brown. take out of the oil, using a slotted spoon and resting the pakora against the side of the wok until oil stops running down from it.
Keep on absorbent tissue paper so the excess oil gets absorbed, while you fry up the rest of the batter. Serve hot with ketchup or green chutney, though if you ask me, this pakora tastes great by itself. Retire to window seat/ verandah, plate in hand and enjoy while soaking in the sight of the rain...