It’s Ramadan, and no matter how vigorously you swear off fried food before it starts, you end in a downward spiral towards all the deep fried foods that have become associated with fasting, because who needs all the health benefits, right? And the king of Ramadan fried food are delicious crunchy and fulfilling Pakorey. I refuse to call them potato fritters or onion fritters, or fritters of any sort. They are Pakorey, and that’s what they shall be called.
Pakorey are so versatile and accommodating, at least as accommodating as food can be. If you have Gram flour you’re good to go. You can add anything in the fridge, quite literally, and their making isn’t dependent on an exact list of ingredients, except gram flour of course. That’s what gives them that specific flavor that reminds you of home every time you pop one in your mouth. Here’s a list of things I add, and just for your convenience, i’ll put a * next to each ingredient that isn’t necessary, but I insist that you go out and buy them to get the full Pakora experience.
If you’re not in Pakistan, you can easily find these ingredients at any Pakistani/Indian grocery store, and even in some main stream grocery stores in their international ingredients section!
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thin french fries
4 green chillies, thinly sliced *
2 T kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) *
1 t coriander seeds
1 t anardana (dried pomegranate seeds) *
1/2 t ground cumin
1 T salt
1 1/2 t red chilli powder
3 T lemon juice ( adding it makes all the difference!)
1 1/2 heaping cup gram flour
Oil for deep frying
You literally just mix everything together. What I do is chop and mix everything up at least an hour before I want to fry them. That way, any water that the onions and potatoes release help form the gram flour into a paste. And it will seem like there isn’t enough gram flour, but you need just enough to lightly coat all the veggies. The less gram flour you add, the crispier the Pakora, and less heavy might I add. Another thing you can do is mix in 1/4 cup cornstarch right before frying. That just makes them a little more crispy. But you don’t have to, which is why I didn’t add it to the ingredients list.
To fry, heat the oil in a pan on a medium flame, at least 2 inches deep. Mix everything up to make sure the gram flour paste is evenly distributed. Drop in tablespoons full of the mixture into the hot oil. Don’t flip them over until they rise to the top or you’ll just break them into tiny pieces and your oil will be full of burnt specks of batter! Fry them till they’re golden brown, like shown in the picture above. And no matter how much of a hurry you’re in , don’t fry these on a high flame. That’ll just cook the batter on top and leave the center raw, and the potatoes won’t cook through either. Serve with ketchup if you must, but a mint and yogurt sauce is truly the way to go. And it’s so simple to make.
Pudina Chutney(Mint Chutney)
1 bunch mint leaves
1/2 t salt
3-4 green chillies
3 T water
Just blend these ingredients together in a food processor till pureed. You might need to add a little more water, but start with 3 tablespoons.
Pour the mint puree into a jar and refrigerate. It stays fresh for up to 2 weeks. Then all you need to do is add a tablespoon of chutney to a cup of yogurt, add some salt and red chill powder to taste, and you have yourself a near instant mint yogurt chutney!
Enjoy! And a fair warning to all: if you’re not a fan of spicy food add less green chillies and less red chill powder to the pakora mix!