Bread Pakoras with Cilantro Chutney

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Intro

Hey guys!  (Or whoever reads this blog)

I am so tired.  Between work, training for a half-marathon I’m doing at the end of the month, various side-projects, and wasting hours on Pinterest, I find myself pressed for time.  I am sorry to say that I put updating this blog on the back-burner, so if ever it seems like I might have disappeared for a bit, rest assured I’ll be back.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense!  Let’s talk bread pakoras.

I get mixed vegetable pakoras often at Indian restaurants, as my mom is fond of them.  My favorite are the onion ones, which is why I decided to make these bread pakoras.  Make sense?  No?  Good.  I decided to make these bread pakoras to take to a party (along with some rainbow cookies).  I thought the recipe for them looked nice and basic, and I figured most people would like fried bread.

Recipe

Note: I got this recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen, which is a fantastic YouTube channel and blog.  If you want to learn how to prepare Indian food, Manjula’s Kitchen is a great resource.

Stuff You’ll Need

  • firm white bread (I used a loaf of Italian bread)
  • 1 cup besan flour
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 finely chopped green chilies
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of water
  • Vegetable oil

1. Remove the crust from all sides of the bread.
2. Slice the bread lengthwise into 3 equal parts.

Note: I used a loaf of Italian bread for this recipe.  I wanted a firm bread that would hold up well against the pakora batter.  I thought about buying some Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread, but my useless grocery store was of course sold out.  All the other white sandwich breads seemed much too soft.

The Italian bread worked well, but because I had so much of it, I ended up doubling the batter recipe, and also, my pakoras were not evenly shaped, as since the bread was not “sandwich” bread, it did not have a uniform shape.

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3. Mix besan flour, rice flour, asafetida, cumin seeds, and salt.

Note: For my first batch of batter I did not use asafetida, because I did not have any.  I completely forgot I had to buy it (I also forgot to buy green chilies, which for some reason I can only find at the Indian grocery store, I do not understand how they can have a monopoly on green chilies, but I look for them all over the place and they are tres elusive).

The first batch, lacking these two ingredients, came out pretty good.  But when I went out, got the asafetida and chilies, and made the second batch of batter, I felt that the taste was more “authentic” aka similar to what the pakora batter tastes like at restaurants.

Still life of ingredients:

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I was chopping the chilies, and I just really liked how this looked.  I think it would be a nice painting…

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Chopped chilies:

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4. Add the water slowly to make a smooth batter.

Note: Manjula says that the batter should be the consistency of pancake batter (or dosa batter if you are familiar with it).  So I was very careful not to over-mix, as for some batters such as this, it is preferable to have some lumpiness.

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5. Next, add the green chilies and cilantro. Mix well.

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6. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat.

7. Frying pan should have at least 11/2 inch of oil. To check if the oil is ready, put one drop of batter in the oil. The batter should come up but not change color right away.

Note: Got my pakora frying station set up and ready to go!

Ignore that pot of water in the top right corner, I was using that to melt chocolate for the rainbow cookies I was simultaneously making.

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8. Dip the bread slices in the batter one at a time and slowly drop into the frying pan.

9. Fry the pakoras in small batches. The pakoras will take about 4 to 5 minutes to cook.

Note: I don’t know if it took me 4 to 5 minutes to fry these babies, as I wasn’t using a timer so much as I was just using my eyes.  Timers can be helpful, but just paying attention to how what you’re making looks/smells/taste like is much better than relying on a timer or such.  So be vigilant!  Especially when frying.

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10. Turn them occasionally. Fry the pakoras until both sides are golden-brown.

Note: Manjula says if the oil is too hot, the pakoras can cook too fast, and if the oil is not hot enough then they can be greasy.  Luckily mine came out great.  I’m not boasting, really.  I was incredibly relieved, especially since I was just kind of winging it.  I wish I had some tips, but I just paid a lot of attention to the oil and the heat.  That’s all I really know to tell you, dear reader.

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11. The pakoras are ready to serve!

I packed them up, along with my little rainbows, and was ready to debut them at the party.  Yes, it is true that pakoras, like pretty much all fried food, it best fresh.  One option you have though, if you aren’t able to serve them right away, is to reheat them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 300 degrees F to get them toasty warm once more.

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12.  Pakoras are great dipped in either cilantro chutney or tamarind chutney.  You can buy at pretty much any Indian grocery store.  You can also make your own!

I bought some date-tamarind chutney (it is a bit sweet and spicy) and I made the cilantro chutney myself.  It is fairly simple, just throw a bunch of cilantro into a food processor with lemon juice, cumin seed, sugar, salt, ginger, and green chilies, then pulse for a bit–viola!  Cilantro chutney.  You can also add mint.

Click here to see a detailed cilantro chutney recipe.

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Conclusion

So I brought the pakora’s to my friend’s party and they went over really well!  No one was familiar with them, some people were not much familiar with Indian food in general (one person asked if they were some sort of cheese stick).  But everyone tasted them and they received favorable reviews!

There weren’t any left that I can recall…

My only desire is that I could have served them fresh from the pan though.  They are so much better that way.

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See ya until my next entry!

Madeline aka the Hopeful Hestia

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