Zucchini Pakora with Crushed Peanuts
• Sifted chickpea flour (sifted before measuring) – 1½ cups (135g)
• Melted ghee or vegetable oil – 1½ tsp
• Lemon juice – 1 tbsp (15 ml)
• Crushed cumin seeds – 1 tsp
• Hot green chilies, seeded and minced – 1-2
• Salt – 1 tsp
• Cold water or enough to make a medium-consistency batter – Up to 9 tbsp
• Baking powder – ¼ tsp
• Finely chopped peanuts – 3 tbsp
• Zucchini (about ½ pound/230 g), Cut into ¼ inch (6 mm) thick slices – 2 medium-sized
• Ghee or vegetable oil for deep frying.
1. Combine the flour, melted ghee or oil, lemon juice, cumin seeds, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Add 8 tablespoons water slowly, beating with an electric beater or wire whisk until the batter is smooth and free of lumps. Slowly add the remaining water until the batter consistency is similar to cream and easily coats a wooden blade, or a blender, process until smooth, then transfer to a bowl. Cover the batter 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 and peanuts. Set the Zucchini, a bowl of water, tea towels and paper towels for draining near the stove.
3. Heat 2½-3 inches (6.5-7.5 cm) of fresh ghee or vegetable oil in a karai, wok or deep-frying pan until the temperature reaches 355 F (180 C). Dip 6-8 pieces of zucchini in the batter and carefully slip them into the hot oil. Avoid crowding the pan, which would make the temperature of the oil drop.
4. Fry the zucchini pakoras 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. 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, up to ½ hour.