Pakoda - they were very popular in my home in Bombay and are also very popular with my daughter Aashika and her school friends. I generally have the mixture ready in the refrigerator and when Aashika comes home from school I add some fresh besan to the mixture, heat oil and fry some pakoras up. I found my kids spending too much money on fries from fast food joints and felt some home cooked fries with the protein rich batter and herbs would be better. Aashika loves them so it works out good.
Pakoras are also street food in India and are much like the street hot dog in popularity. Pakoras come in an infinite number of varieties, made with every kind of vegetable imaginable, potatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, even green chilies.
1 1/2 cups besan
1/2 tsp. red chili powder (cayenne pepper)
Salt to taste
1 cup potatoes or onions rings (sliced) or Spinach leaves with diced onions
1 green chili minces
1 tsp. lime or lemon juice
4 tbsp.minced cilantro
1/4 cup fresh fenugreek/methi leaves or 2 tbsp. dried (optional)
Oil for deep frying
1. Mix the onions, cayenne pepper, salt and besan, cilantro, lime juice , green chilies and methi. Let it rest for about about 10 minutes to allow the vegetables to sweat. Add some water (only as much as required) to make into a very thick paste/batter that coats the veggies.
2. Heat the oil till it is ready to fry. The oil should be very hot but not smoking. Pour a spoonful of the paste in the oil and let fry until golden brown. Stir in between. Remove from oil and strain the oil out.
3. Serve with tamarind chutney and mint chutney