Few days back, I was grinding soaked chana dal to make stuffing for farra (a delicious and healthy steamed preparation made of rice-flour and chana dal).
Suddenly, my daughter came with her demand for pakora, and soon my hubby too joined her saying this monsoon does call for hot pakoras. So, all of a sudden plan for tempting channa dal pakoras was in place.
Pakora is very easy to make and even better, it tastes awsome in cool weather. In Indian households, in rainy weather, hot plate of fried snacks and masala chai are a common sight.
Just like spicy samosa, pakoras too are favorite street food available around the year in all parts of India. They are also called vadas or bhajias in different parts of the country.
Pakoras are Indian fritters made out bengal-gram (chana-dal) flour or lentils. It can similarly be made with green-gram (moong-dal) lentil. Just make sure you have soaked dal for 2 hours prior to grinding. Actually, lots of variations can be done in pakora while adding any vegetable of your liking in batter. You may also like to read about moong-dal tikki – the lentil preparation with less oil.
Though these days I have reduced the frequency of making pakora as it’s deep-fried, but once in a while savoring lip-smacking hot snacks is permissible :-). So here is the easy process of making chana dal pakora.
- Soaked bengal-gram (chana dal): 1 cup
- Sliced Onion: ½ cup
- chopped green chilly: 2
- Chopped coriander leaves: 1 tbsp
- Ginger: ½ inch
- Salt: as per taste
- Turmeric: ½ tsp (optional)
- Asafoetida (hing): ¼ tsp
- Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
- Oil for deep frying
- Cut thin slices of onion. It’s important to cut thin slices of onion because thick slices of onion take more time to cook than dal. So you won’t get the taste of crisp pakoras, after all the fun is in having in crisp pakoras.
- Grind soaked chana dal, ginger and make a coarse paste. You can even add green chilly while grinding. But when children are around I prefer adding thick-chopped chilies so they can remove it while eating. Do not add water while grinding or it will make the batter thin.
- Now add onion and all the other ingredients in batter and mix well. You can grind dal few hours in advance, but don’t leave batter for long duration after mixing salt and onion. This is because water is released from onion which thins the batter. After proper mixing, batter is ready for deep frying.
- Heat oil in heavy bottom skillet and add spoonfuls of batter in hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the skillet with pakoras or you will find it difficult to manage these hot bubbling beauties. 🙂
- After about 5 minutes, slowly turn them upside down. You will see nice golden color. Keep turning them till you get evenly-cooked crisp pakoras.
Once they get that nice golden color, pull them out and spread on kitchen paper towels as this will absorb excess oil. My Mil often jokes whenever I keep pakoras on kitchen towels after frying. She says, “your generation love to enjoy fried food but want to avoid oil, how is that possible?” 🙂
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