Tempura-like-batter-coated fried vegetables called pakoras layered with hot, sweet, salty and sour chutneys is another popular snack food in India.
This is another great recipe from 660 Curries cookbook, I adapted it a little to my style. You can serve this as an appetizer, or a snack. Just be prepared to make this a lot as this will be the most requested dish at your home.
This is so simple to make once you have all the chutneys in place. I put off making this dish for the longest time thinking that it would not taste that special. After all pakoras are quite common in our household. However, the other day when I was making some onion pakora, I decided to go all out and make the Sabzi Pakora Chaat. It turned out to be such a hit with both my husband and my son. My son even came for seconds !
This dish does have a couple of chutneys, which are easily available in any Indian grocery store, or you can make them at home. Once the chutneys are in place this dish comes together rather quickly and disappears twice as fast. Do not be intimidated by the number of steps in the recipe, it is fairly easy to make. So once you fry enough of the pakoras , assemble them and pour the chutneys on them and serve. These taste best when hot or warm.
For the batter
1 1/2 cup of fine ground bengal gram dal / besan
1/2 tsp dried mango powder / amchur powder
1 tsp cumin powder / jeera powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder / haldi powder
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne powder / lal mirchi powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
salt, to taste ( I added approximately 3/4 tsp )
3/4 - 1 cup water, enough to make a thick smooth paste, that coats the back of the spoon ( a thick pancake batter consistency )
1 tbsp hot oil
For the Vegetables / Subzi
2 cups of cauliflower florets, cut into 1 inch florets
1 big white potato, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/8th inch thick slices
1 medium green bell pepper / capsicum / smila mirch, remove the stem and seeds and cut into 1 inch wide strips
( You can use any other vegetable you like - zucchini, button mushrooms etc )
For the chutneys
3/4 cup Sweet Tamarind-Date Chutney / Imli ki Chutney ( available at local Indian grocery stores )
1/2 cup Mint Chutney ( available at Indian grocery stores ) + 2 tbsp of plain yogurt, combine them well.
1/4 cup Red Chili-Garlic Chutney ( also available at Indian Grocery Stores )
3/4 cup Yogurt sauce *
* Yogurt Sauce - (makes 3/4 cup) Mix all the ingedients, listed below, together until combined properly .
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar
3/4 tsp black salt / kala namak
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro / kothimbhir
- Make all the chutneys and keep them ready.
- Heat some oil in your deep fryer or wok on medium high heat.
- In a medium bowl, make the batter by combining the besan with amchur powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, cayenne powder, salt and baking soda. Mix them all well together.
- Add the hot oil and rub it in. Then add enough water to make a thick slurry. It should be thick, like pancake batter.
- Make sure all the vegetables are cut and ready, pat them dry as the batter will not stick on wet vegetables. Dip each vegetable piece in the batter, coat all sides, and drop it gently in the hot oil. To check if the oil is hot enough , put a drop of batter in it , it should immediately rise to the top sizzling, this indicates that the oil is ready. Oil should be hot but not smoking, if you have a candy or deep frying thermometer, it should read 350 F.
- Fry these batter coated vegetable pieces ( pakoras ), turning them occasionally. Once they turn golden brown all over, takes about 5-10 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Assemble them once you have fried up all the pieces.
- In a plate, place 4-6 different fried vegetable pakoras. Over this spoon 1/2 tsp mint -yogurt chutney, followed by 1/2 tsp red chili chutney ( you can adjust this according to how hot you like your dish to taste ), next comes 1 heaped teaspoon of the tamarind chutney and lastly the another 1 teaspoon of the yogurt sauce. You can adjust the amounts of the chutneys and sauce as per your taste.
- Sprinkle some finely chopped cilantro and 1/8 tsp chaat masala and it is ready to serve.
- Please do try and eat this with your fingers and not any cutlery, as it is traditionally eaten. And do not forget to lick / chaat your fingers after each bite.