Friday, July 11, 2008
Pakoras or Potato Fritters
Let's make potato pakoras today.
This is an appetizer or a light snack and is usually made in India around 4 or
5pm in the evening. This is because the weather is warmer in India, there is
still sun light until about 7 pm and people eat dinner around 9 pm.
So, when people are taking a tea break at work, they order a plate
of vegetable fritters or pakoras from the cafeteria too.
Potato is low in fat. Potatoes are rich in several micro-nutrients,
especially vitamin C - eaten with its skin, a single medium-sized
potato of 150 g provides nearly half the daily adult requirement (100
mg). The potato is a moderate source of iron, and its high vitamin C
content promotes iron absorption. It is a good source of vitamins B1,
B3 and B6 and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium,
and contains folate, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. Potatoes also
contain dietary antioxidants, which may play a part in preventing
diseases related to ageing. They contain dietary fibre, which benefits
health. Potatoes should be balanced with other vegetables and whole
Today, we are making potato pakoras or fritters. The reason that I
selected making potato pakoras is because potatoes are readily
available in most households. This is a great appetizer if you are
entertaining. My friends and family have savored these every time I
cook them and so I wanted to share this recipe with you today.
1 medium to large Russet potato or 2-3 small red potatoes
1/2 cup chickpeas flour also called gram flour/ besan
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder available in your local Indian grocery store
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 cup water to make batter
canola or vegetable oil for frying
1/2 tsp dried pomegranate seeds, also called anardana (available at your
local Indian grocery store)
These add a crunch to your pakoras.
Tip: Choose the freshest ingredients whenever, possible and you will really taste the difference.
For instance, if I am serving a particular dish on a Saturday, then the cooking needs to be done on Saturday and the veggies can be bought on a Thursday or a Friday.
Rinse the potato and slice it into 4mm discs. Soak them in a bowl of water to keep them from drying out and oxidizing.
Now, let's make the batter. We will add the flour and the spices and mix the dry ingredients. Then add a tsp of oil, mix, then add water slowly and stir with a spoon to form a smooth paste.
Place a 10 0r 12 inch pan, with vegetable or canola oil, on medium heat. I typically fill half of the pan with oil. While the oil is heating, have a slotted spoon next to you and a platter with a paper towel folded into half and then quartered in the center of the plate. We will keep the pakoras in this plate.
Toss few potato slices in the batter and coat them on all sides.
Drop a tiny drop of batter into the oil to check if the oil is warm. If the batter drop goes in the oil and comes up frying then it is ready. if the drop of batter sinks to the bottom of the pan then the oil needs a few more seconds to warm up. 350 degrees to 375 degrees is usually optimal temperature for frying.
Now, gently place the potato slices coated with batter into the oil one by one. Once this is done you may reduce the flame to low heat and get them to cook for two to three minutes before flipping them.
You can make other kinds of veggie pakoras, for instance, onion, cauliflower, and whole green chillies, in the same manner.
Take care while flipping, and do it slowly so that the oil does not splatter on you.
Fry the other side until they are golden brown in color.
Remove the pakoras from the oil with a slotted spoon onto a plate with a paper towel on the bottom of the plate, to soak up the access oil.
Another tip: Tilt the slotted spoon for a few seconds while the pakoras are still in the spoon so that the oil gets drained into the pan again.
Serve warm with your favorite chutney or chilli sauce.
Serves two to three people for a snack.