It’s a ritual across our nation to fry Pakoras as soon as the monsoon season kicks in. India and its culinary diversity is such that when “Pakora” from the north travels down to the south, it is called “Bhaji”. If you go east, they call'em “Bhaja” and “Bhajiya” in the west. This time I have gone down the Pakora Route and come up with some brilliant twists which are super easy to make. It’s a little time consuming with the preps but once done, you will devour these fried goodies.
Pakora v2.0 – An assortment of 4 different kinds of Pakoras
- Palak Paneer Pakora
- Sweet Potato stuffed in Ajawain leaves Desi Croquette.
- Aubergine Potato and Cheese Sandwich Pakora.
- The Mélange of Kanda Bhaji and Batata Vada.
We are going to take it easy, step by step. All the items are to be fried in the same Gram flour/Besan Batter except The Mélange of KB & BV.
Serves: 6 – 8 people
Prep time: 45 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Palak Paneer Pakora
20-25 medium sized Spinach leaves, stalks removed and soak the leaves in salted water
For the Paneer stuffing -
400 gms of paneer, crumbled
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 green chili, Slit and finely chopped
3-4 sprigs of coriander leaves, finely chopped
Pinch of salt + 2 tsp. Garam Masala + 2 tsp. Red chili powder + 2 tsp. Jeera powder + ½ tsp. of turmeric powder
Mix all of the ingredients well and portion them into equal sized balls of around 20 gms each. Lay out the spinach leaves on a surface, vein side up and place the paneer mixture on each leaf towards you. Spread it evenly from side to side and roll it up like a cigar. Place in a plate and refrigerate.
Sweet Potato stuffed in Ajawain leaves Desi Croquette –
20-25 Ajwain/Carom seeds leaves, soaked in salted water for at least 15 mins
For the sweet potato stuffing –
400 gms of boiled and mashed, skinless sweet potato
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix it together. Divide them into 20gms balls each. Lay the Ajawain ka patta on a surface and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Repeat the process similar to the Palak Paneer Pakora and stuff these ajawain leaves. If it doesn’t stick and stay like a roll, use the besan ka batter to paste it up. Place it in a plate and refrigerate.
Aubergine, Potato and cheese sandwich pakora –
It's super simple. Slice 3 aubergines and soak in salted water. Slices 3 medium sized potatoes with the skin on and soak in salted water. Soak both the ingredients separately for a minimum of 20 mins. Ensure the slices are even so it cooks evenly. Cut cheese slices into 4 equal squares and place them between each slice before dipping in the batter and frying.
The Mélange of Kanda Bhaji and Batata Vada –
Slice 4 medium sized onions, add a good pinch of salt on them and mix well till all the layers fall off. Ensure you don’t break the slices in half. Place on a kitchen paper for 30 mins to soak the moisture away.
Add 3-4 tbsp. of Besan, 1 tsp. red chili powder, ½ tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. of hot oil and mix it together till the mixture becomes sticky, yet dry. Add a bit of water if required.
For the Batata vada stuffing –
3 medium sized potatoes,boiled and mashed.
3 sprigs of coriander leaves finely chopped.
1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste
Tempering/tadka – 20 ml oil >> Heat it up >> add 6-7 curry leaves >> a pinch of hing >> a tsp. of mustard seeds >> 1 finely chopped green chilly >> ½ tsp. of turmeric powder >> salt to taste.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, add tempering and mix well. Divide into 20 equal balls. Wrap the onion mixture over these balls and ensure they are coated well. Place in a plate and refrigerate.
Last step prepare the batter of Besan, for that you require –
2 cups of besan/gram flour
½ tsp. of turmeric
2 tsp. red chili powder
2 tsp. dhania powder/ coriander powder
½ tsp. of baking soda
1 tsp. of hot oil
Add water little by little to make a smooth and thick batter. I added beer instead of water because it's “Pakora V2.0 Bro!” Avoid the soda if using beer.
To fry – Heat oil in a large pan. To test the temperature of oil, drop the drippings of the batter in the oil to check. Ensure the heat is on medium at the time of frying.
Dip the Palak Paneer Pakora, Sweet Potato stuffed in Ajawain leaves desi croquette & Aubergine Cheese Potato sandwich Pakora and lightly coat them with the batter and fry. Fry each item batch by batch individually to avoid confusion.
The Mélange of KB & BV is to be fried directly without dipping them in the batter.
I would like to describe each dish to you, yet I will save it and zip it up after such a long recipe. Believe me! It's going to be worth it in this gloomy set up. Invite your friends and family over and give'em a taste of #PakorasGoneGourmet. Serve them hot along with Pao and your special chutney; Fried Chilies too. Enjoy these Twisted Pakoras/Bhajiyas with some chai, or not… Wait for it… Masala Chai Ice cream coming soon.
P.S. Food enthusiasts if you wish to get a taste of the behind the scenes action of the LiveInStyle.com dishes and more, you can follow me on Instagram.
Articles & Images By: Harsh Dixit
Four Seasons Recommends -
Four Seasons Chenin Blanc is great to pair with Indian snacks and appetizers, making it perfect for these unique pakoras. Enjoyed best at 8-10° C.