After much teasing, the monsoon has finally arrived, giving us all some respite from the heat. And with the monsoon comes a certain monsoon tradition – no rainy day is complete without some chai and a plate of steaming hot pakoras.
We only want the best for you, so we spoke to our favourite celebrity chef, Ranveer Brar. He’s been all over the world cooking up a storm and making a mark on TV audiences across India, but he’s taken some time out to help us all make the perfect (gourmet) eggplant pakoras.
8-10 slices of eggplant, cut to ¼ inch thickness
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt as per taste
Oil for frying
1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
½ cup rice flour
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp, coriander leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp, turmeric powder
¾ tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
Salt to taste
Water as required
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- Combine red chilli powder, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, some salt and lemon juice. Rub the eggplant slices with prepared mixture and keep aside for 6-8 minutes.
- Combine all the ingredients mentioned for batter, adding a little water at a time and prepare a batter of medium consistency such that it coats the back of the spoon.
- Heat oil on medium in a deep bottom pan or kadhai. When the oil is hot enough, dip the eggplant slices one by one in the batter and slide them into the hot oil.
- Fry them till golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain excess oil on paper towels.
- Serve hot with chutney or sauce of your choice.
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Tips for Perfect Pakoras
- Add a little water at a time and test consistency by checking if it coats the back of a spoon. So, neither too thick, nor too runny.
- Add rice or maize flour for crispiness. Adding a spoonful of the hot oil to the batter just before you begin frying is also a good idea.
- Heat oil on a medium flame and never on a high flame. Frying on a high flame will over-brown the pakoras and not cook the insides evenly.
- Test the oil readiness before frying and, in between batches, drop in a bit of batter or a coriander leaf into the oil to see if it rises to the surface right away.
- Test with a small batch first and check for salt, spice and crispiness at the beginning itself.
- Do not overcrowd the vessel.
- Keep the oil temperature uniform throughout. Always leave a few minutes gap for the oil to regain its temperature before you add in the next round.
- Let each side of the pakora fry for a bit and turn golden brown before it turning over. ‘Let the food be’ is a mantra to follow at all times!
As told to Neil Balthazar.
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