Author Notes: “The World is much smaller than what it used to be”… or so I keep hearing. The number of conversations that seem to start with “Back in MY day…. blah blah blah”, seems to be growing daily… and even my brother (he’s only 18 months older than me) is getting in on the act. What prompted this morning’s historic lamenting was the hour-long conversation I had with my Grandma in Jaipur on Skype! That’s right… I have a techno-Gran! No “Telegram” (what is that?) or faded blue-paper air-mail to keep in touch for us. My Gran is getting younger by the day, and is mos-def moving with the times!
Having said that… somethings never change. It still takes half an hour to get a decent connection, and the conversation still starts with the obligatory, and reassuringly loud “Haaalllllloooooo Monnneeeeee. Kaise hi tu? Vot time izit in UK?”
We caught up. She told me how her neighbour’s younglings were stealing mangos from the tree in the garden (as I said… some things never change-this is one of my favourite pastimes too!), and I relayed my trials of love, life and of course…food.
What a great way to start the day-what could top that? Well, very little in my book, but I did go on to make myself some Dal Pakoras and some cardamom chai. Bliss. If you haven’t tried them yet, well… get it sorted! Moreish, spiced and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside…yep, I’m going to eat some more before my brother gets hold of them!
Enjoy the recipe, and let me know what you think! —Monica
cup urad lentils (“split white washed urad” is the variety you will need)
Green Chillis, (can vary according to your personal preference), roughly chopped
ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Fresh coriander, finely chopped
Small onion, finely diced
teaspoon Paprika powder
teaspoon Coriander seeds, coarsely ground
Oil for frying
- Soak urad lentils for 3-4 hours. Then wash well and rinse.
- Add ginger & chilli to a food processor and grind briefly until coarsely ground. Remove and place into a large mixing bowl.
- Now add the urad lentils to the food processor along with the water. Grind for a good 2-3 minutes until a thick, smooth paste forms. It should be similar to the consistency of humous. Empty into the mixing bowl containing the chills & ginger.
- To the bowl, add the fresh coriander, onions, salt, paprika, coriander seeds and asafoetida.
- Using one hand, mix the mixture for 2-3 minutes until all of the ingredients are well combined
- Heat oil in a pan on low/medium heat. Once hot, using your hand, drop medium sized balls of the mixture about 3? wide into the oil. If you prefer, you may use a tablespoon. Ensure you leave a little room between each pakora and that the pan is not too overcrowded.
- Once all of the pakoras rise to the top of the pan, turn them over using a metal slotted spoon. Allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. You should now begin to see the colour of the pakoras change so they are golden. Once you see this, turn each pakora over an continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Once the pakoras are golden all the way around, remove from oil and drain on a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
- Serve hot with tamarind chutney, tomato ketchup or coconut chutney!