I had to take an appetizer for my friday night potluck. And I was out of ideas. Everything that came up in my mind was boring..it was like there were no proper indian appetizers. I thought so much that my brain hurt!
And then I remembered that evening about 6 months back. I was in India for my vacation and it was the last couple of days. I was getting ready ..and that means shopping..for clothes, things and food! I went to Adyar Ananda Bhavan in Salem and picked out stuff like sweets and murukku and other things to bring back here. There, out of the corner of my eye..I saw it. I wondered. I asked the guy what it was. He told me that was vendakkai pakoda. Hmm.. I have never had that before. So, I asked him to pack a kilo of it. I tried a couple of pieces and it was really good. Crispy..crunchy..tasty. Once I came back here, my husband and I opened it up and started to eat it. Maybe it was the fact that I was just back from India and I was already missing it, the pakoda tasted super good at that time. I beat myself over why I got just one kilo of it and not more! Alas...one kilo just lasts a short time..
Fast forward to yesterday. Yes. I knew it. I wanted to try that. It's no talent to guess what ingredients go into making pakoda. So, I started out.
You will need -
Bhindi - fresh..quantity as required
Besan - 1 cups
Rice Flour - 1 1/2 cups
(The ratio of Besan to Rice flour is 1:1 1/2 ..a little more rice flour for crunchy pakodas)
Salt - to taste
Red Chilli powder - about 2 tsp
Hing - about 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - about 20-30 leaves
Oil for deep frying.
Wash the bhindi and dry it few hours before you plan to start cooking. This step is crucial because you don't want to be cutting into wet bhindi unless you are a goo lover.
Slice the bhindi vertically and make long pieces and set aside.
In a dry bowl, add the besan, rice flour, salt, red chilli and hing and mix the dry ingredients well.
When you are ready to start making pakodas, heat up the oil in a deep pan. When the oil is hot, in a separate small bowl, mix a handful of bhindi and a handful of the dry besan-rice flour mix. Sprinkle water on top of this and mix it thick. If you add more water to this, you will be making more like a bajji. You should still see most of the bhindi through the batter. Drop into the hot oil and fry till golden brown.
Make the next batch of pakodas. Mix the bhindi and the dry mix just before you are ready to drop it into the oil. This will ensure that the pakodas are crispy. And will also not absorb too much oil.
When you are all done with the pakodas, fry the washed and dried curry leaves for about a min without them becoming very dark. Keep it out for the oil to drain - this will make the curry leaves crispy. Just crush it with your hand and mix them with the pakodas.
There you have it - my own version of the adyar ananda bhavan's nostalgic bhindi pakoda.
This recipe is on its way to participate in the "WYF- Fried Snack Event" hosted by Simple Indian Food Blog. Thanks EC for hosting!