Easy Chana Dal Pakora

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.

bengal-gram-fritter

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Procedure

  • 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?”  🙂

lentin-fritter

Enjoy these tempting pakoras with hot cup of masala-tea accompanied by green mint chutney or garlic chutney. You may even like the combination of sweet and tangy tamarind chutney with hot pakoras.

Do visit and like Bhaili’s Facebook page to get regular updates. You can also find me on Pinterest. You may also subscribe to this blog by entering your email-id in EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION section (top of the right-hand column for desktop-readers and bottom of screen for mobile-readers).

Street Style Spicy Samosa

Samosa brings along my fond childhood memories of going for holy dip in Ganga with my grandmother. It was her every Sunday early morning ritual of walking long distance to take bath in Ganga.

However, she would not go alone. We (me and my brother) also had to accompany her. It used to be tough to get-up so early in the morning that too on Sundays. But, her bribe of buying us hot samosa and jalebi were tempting enough to sacrifice our Sunday morning sleep.

My love for samosas has increased over the period of time. While, most of the people enjoy it as tea-time snack, I can munch samosas any time – be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can try combining these samosa with fragrant immunity booster masala chai.

Samosa and pakoras are popular Indian street foods along with tikkis. If are fan of street food do try chana dal pakoras and flavorsome moong dal tikki. If have healthy steam food in mind, do try farra a delicious preparation of rice flour with chana dal filling. A great combination of health and taste.

Having said that, I really miss the taste of my hometown samosa. My hometown is Bhagalpur (Bihar). Yes you guessed it right, place where Madhubani paintings originated.

In Maharashtra, stuffing of samosa has flavor of garlic. Though I’m equally fond of spicy garlic chutney. But in samosa long for the authentic taste of asafoetidia (heeng) and coriander leaves without garlic and curry leaves.

Ready to eat samosaTherefore, I thought why not write a post on my hometown version of samosa with flavors of dry spices.

Ingredients

Makes: 10 pieces

For outer base dough:

  • All purpose flour (maida): 2 cups
  • Carom seeds (ajwaeen): 1 tsp
  • Nigella seeds (kalonji): 1 tsp
  • Salt: 2 tsp
  • Oil in flour: 2 tbsp

For stuffing:

  • Mashed boiled potato: 250 gm
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Asafoetidia: ½ tsp
  • Finely chopped green chilly: 3-4
  • Fine chopped coriander leaves: 1 tbsp
  • Grated ginger: ½ inch
  • Peanuts: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds (jeera): 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp
  • Red chilly powder: 2 tsp
  • Garam masala (mixture of ground spices, like – cumin, cloves, cardamom, coriander seeds, cinnamon etc): 1 tsp
  • Dry mango powder: 2 tsp
  • Black salt: 1 tsp
  • Salt: as per taste
  • Oil for deep-frying

Procedure

For stuffing

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in heavy bottom skillet on medium flame and add cumin seeds, asafoetida and coriander seeds. Stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add peanuts and fry for a minute. Then add green chilly and ginger, and stir. Add both types of salt and other dry spices (except garam masala and dry mango powder).
  • After 30 seconds, add mashed boil potato. Then add garam masala and dry mango powder and mix properly so that spices blend properly. Keep stirring for 5 minutes. The stuffing should have uniform color and potato should be no more sticking to the sides of skillet.

stuffing for samosa

  • Switch-off the flame, sprinkle some coriander leaves and mix properly. Stuffing is now ready. Let it cool completely and then proceed with filling process.

Samosa Stuffing

  • Just to add, you can always adjust the spices according to your taste. You can also add green peas, raisins and cashew nuts in the stuffing.

Dough-making

  • Add salt, carom seeds and nigella seeds and mix well. Pour oil in flour and mix properly. Crush the lumps if any.

flour for samosa

  • To check if quantity of oil in flour is adequate, you can do this test – take flour in your palm and make a fist, flour should take the shape of fist on opening of fingers (shown in below image).

checking oil in flour

  • Add water in small proportions and make the dough. The texture of dough should be slight hard or tight as compared to dough of roti.
  • Cover the dough with damp muslin cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Samosa-folding

  • Roll the elongated rotis (oval not circle). Here you don’t have to be conscious of making perfect round rotis. 🙂

roti for samosa

  • Cut them half. Take one half between your fingers and make a cone. Apply little water with finger between the edges and bring the edges together to join. Press with the fingers to ensure edges are joined properly.

making cone for samosa

  • Fill in the stuffing and make a small fold at back of the samosa. Seal the open edges by again applying little water with finger tip. Water binds the flour together and keeps the sealing intact.

stuffing samosa

  • Here is how the filled samosa will look like and it’s ready for deep frying.

samosa ready for deep fryingFrying

  • Heat the oil in heavy bottom skillet on medium flame.
  • Drop a pinch of dough to check if oil is ready for frying. If the dough settles on base of skillet wait for 2 minutes because oil in not yet ready.
  • If dough instantly comes on surface and gets brown, it means oil is too hot. In this case, switch-off the flame and wait for 2 minutes to let oil cool. If dough comes on surface instantly while remaining white then it means the oil is ready.
  • Drop in samosas one by one.
  • Deep-fry them on medium flame and keep twisting and turning till you get an even golden color.

hot spicy samosaIt’s time to serve

Serve immediately with chutneys of your choices. Sweet and tangy tamarind chutney or spicy green mint chutney.

Finally, in case you have any doubts while making, feel free to drop your comment below. Your questions will help other readers as well. I would love to know your thoughts and suggestions.

Do visit and like Bhaili’s Facebook page to get regular updates. You can also find me on Pinterest. You may also subscribe to this blog by entering your email-id in EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION section (top of the right-hand column for desktop-readers and bottom of screen for mobile-readers).

Making my Favorite Paani-Puri/Gol-Gappa

In Pune one thing I miss the most is Paani-puri – street food of almost all regions of India. Pune has its own street food Vaada-pav and Missal, but paani-puri or gol-gappa has its own fan following. I’m a big-time, die-hard fan of paani-puri. It’s something I can never have enough of.

It has so many names like: in Bihar we call it “Gup-Chup” while my husband who is from Uttar Pradesh calls it “Pani Ke bataashe”. My cousins from Kolkata call it “Puchka”. I guess there must be other names too.

In teenage it was an unsaid custom that if we are out for shopping, having paani–puri while returning home was a must. However, I miss this (eating paani-puri at roadside) now, because my husband being very hygiene-conscious is not in favor of eating roadside paani-puri.

Instead, he is more inclined towards home-made paani-puri. So, earlier I used to make the filling and water at home, and got puris from store. But I missed the authentic taste in store-bought stale paani-puris.

Therefore, under my MIL’s (mom-in-law) guidance I started making puri’s too at home. I make the puri’s and store it in an air tight container. Make the accompaniments of chick-pea filling and spicy and tangy water whenever we feel like having. Now I can enjoy the authentic street-side taste that I love and the best part is it’s totally hygienic and free of any preservatives.

paani puri ready to eat
My favorite street food Paani-puri

Making puris at home is a very simple and easy but a time-taking process. However, if you really miss the fresh and authentic taste, you won’t mind putting the hard-work. Having said that, you can easily opt for store-bought option when in hurry.

So here is the process of making home-made puris.

Makes around 50 puris

Ingredients for Puris

  • Semolina (rava/soozi): 1 cup
  • All purpose flour (Maida): 1 tbsp.
  • Oil for frying
  • Water to knead the dough

Ingredients for Paani

  • Chopped mint leaves: 1 cup
  • Chopped coriander leaves: ¼ cup
  • Tamarind pulp: ¼ cup
  • Green chilies: 5-6
  • Dry ginger powder: ½ tsp
  • Roasted cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Jal-jeera powder: 1tsp (optional)
  • Black salt: 1 tsp
  • Salt: as per taste
  • Water: 4 cups

Ingredients for Chickpea Filling

  • Soaked chickpea: 1 cup
  • Salt as per taste
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp

Process for Puris

  • Mix semolina and all-purpose flour, and knead the dough (like for making rotis). No need to add salt, oil or baking soda in the dough. Cover the dough with damp muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Semolina will absorb the water and dough will become little hard. Sprinkle little water and knead the dough again to make soft dough. You will notice dough have gained elasticity.

paani-puri dough

  • Divide the dough into small balls – even smaller than marbles. Cover the balls with moist kitchen cloth.
  • Damp a muslin cloth and spread it on a big plate. Now roll the thin puris with the help of rolling pin and spread on this cloth. Keeping the puris on damp cloth will prevent them from drying.
rolling puris
Rolled puris
  • Keep covering the puris with the cloth while you are rolling the others. It’s important that they remain moist. As moisture in puri’s turns into steam and makes puri puff-up on deep frying.

My MIL was worried that in the photo clicking process I might dry the puris. So, I had to be very quick in clicking pictures. 🙂

  • Heat the oil in a vessel. Drop a puri in hot oil on medium flame and instantly start pressing it with a frying spoon. The puri will puff up. Move it aside in oil do not turn upside down.
  • Drop another puri. You can add 4-5 puris in one batch. Now start turning the puris upside-down. You will notice the golden color. All must have turned golden by now. Wait for few seconds and start taking them out.
paani-puri after frying
Paani-puri after frying
  • Transfer them to an absorbent paper and store in air-tight container when they cool down.

Process for Paani

  • Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 2 hour. Remove the seeds and blend in mixer and strain the pulp through a sieve.
  • Mix mint, coriander leaves and green chilies to make a fine paste in the blender.
  • Take a big bowl and add this fine paste, tamarind pulp and rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  •  Make the paani 2-3 hours before serving. This helps spices to blend and enhance the flavor. In summers make the water and shift it to refrigerator, because cool water will be more refreshing. If short on time then drop few ice cubes.

Process for Chickpea Filling

  • Wash and soak the chickpeas overnight. Add salt, turmeric and cook them in pressure cooker.
  • Puris can be enjoyed with potato or chick-pea filling and tangy spicy flavored water. Here I have made boiled chickpea filling.

It’s time to eat!

I first make hole in the center, add chickpea filling, add tangy tamarind chutney and finally dip in spicy flavored paani. Immediately transfer it to my already watering mouth. No waiting period here. 🙂

paani puri close up
This is how I like my paani-puri

Till now I have never come across any Indian lady who is not fond of paani-puri. Also, it’s a usual thing to ask the pani-puri vendor to adjust the taste as per personal liking. Some like it tangy while some spicy.

This is how I make my favorite paani-puri. What’s your version? Do share with me your combinations.