North Indians frequently serve this luscious pakora selection at wedding feasts. It adds a festive touch to almost any occasion, from brunch to late-night supper. Unless the cauliflower flowerets are cut very small, parboil or half-steam them before deep-frying. Make certain that the pieces are thoroughly patted dry and room temperature before batter-dipping. If you are making the batter by hand, rather than in a food processor or blender, use ground coriander or fenugreek instead of the whole seeds.
Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
• Sifted chick pea flour (sifted before measuring) – 1 ½ cups (135 g)
• Salt – 1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml)
• Melted ghee or vegetable oil – 2 teaspoons (10 ml)
• Hot green chilies, seeded and minced – 2-4
• Piece of scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root – 1 inch (2.5 cm)
• Dry-roasted fenugreek seeds or 1 table spoon (15 ml) coriander chopped – 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
• Coarsely chopped – 2 table spoons (30 ml)
• Fresh fenugreek or coriander
• Cold water, or enough to make a medium-consistency batter – About 9 table spoons (135 ml)
• Baking powder – ¼ – ½ teaspoon (1-2 ml)
• Ghee or vegetable oil for deep-frying
• Cauliflower flowerets, 1 ½ inches (4 cm) long and ½ inch (1.5 cm) thick, parboiled or half-steamed – 25-35
1. Combine the flour, salt, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) ghee or vegetable oil, chilies, ginger, fenugreek or coriander seeds, fresh herbs and 7 table spoons (105 ml) of cold water in a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Cover and process until smooth. (if you mix the batter by hand, substitute ground spices for the seeds and work with a balloon whisk until smooth). Gradually add the remaining water, or enough to make a batter the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
2. Again beat with an electric beater, wire whisk or your hand for 2-3 minutes to further lighten the batter. (Check the batter consistency: if it is too thin, moist foods will spatter as they fry; if it is too thick, they will not cook properly. Add flour or water as necessary). Stir in the baking powder.
3. Heat 2 ½ -3 inches (6.5-7.5 cm) of fresh ghee or vegetable oil in a karai, wok or deep-frying vessel until the temperature reaches 355 F (180 C). Dip 5 or 6 flowerets in the batter and, one at a time, carefully slip them into the hot oil. The temperature will fall but should then be maintained at between 345-355 F (173-180 C) throughout the frying. Fry until the pakoras are golden brown, turning to brown evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately, or keep warm, uncovered, in a preheated 250 F (120 C) oven until all of the pakoras are fried, for up to ½ hourMakes:
25 -35 pieces
25 -35 pieces
By Yamuna Devi Dasi