Pakodas are much loved in India and made with varied ingrdients like chilly,capsicum,potatoes,cottage cheese,onions,brinjals and each of these brings its own texture to the Pakoda.
The Pakoda is quite similar to a Tempura of the Japanese cuisine only, these are made with chickpea flour/besan and spiced with spices that are commonly available in India.
Of all the years in my bachelors kitchen where I have experimented and trashed ideas in pursuit of my own version of recipes or just for the want of variety or to make a dinner more interesting to my much spoiled and pampered tongue I once has this really large bit of ridge gourd left from the healthy stir fry-upkari(konkani cuisine) that I had intended it for. And for the want of variety I decided to rustle up quick pakodas for my boring dinner of rice and daal. And ever since I am a fan of the ridge gourd pakodas.
What I love about it is, the Ridge gourd by itself has this tough exterior which adds an element of texture and the innards of it get soft and almost translucent and emanate moisture when deep fried and the crispy thin battery coating it.All this description is making my mouth water so lets get to it.
You will need:
half ridge gourd
chickpea flour half a cup
salt to taste
asafoetida 1 tsp
carrom seeds/ova 1 tsp
red chilly powder 2-3 tsp
oil for deep frying
Try to scale off the fibrous exteriors of the ridgegourd that render it inedible but take care to keep some bits of the skin.
Cut it into thin slices that are not quite paper thin either as else you will not be able to enjoy its innards which transform well when deep fried.
Mix together the rest of the ingredients for the batter and aim for a consistency that thinly coats the ridge gourd slices.
Trivia: Each of the spices added to the batter has a role to play as oft repeated by my mother as I watched her cook. As the chickpea flour has a tendency to cause flatulence, the cumin and the asafoetida and carrom seeds added to the batter not only bring flavor to the batter but also impart thier medicinal qualities that alleviate flatulence and make this dish go easier on the tummy.
Tip: Adding a tea spoon of hot oil to the batter helps achieve extra crispiness and fluffiness in the pakoda coating.
Dip the slices into the batter and drain off any excess batter and deep fry in heated oil till golden brown.
Serve hot with tomato sauce.
So there goes, another simple everyday dish re-imagined! Contact me for more such Innovative ideas for your place