Recipe of the day: Pakora – most favorite food during Ramadan
I love pakoras, especially the way my mother makes them. Instead of just having diced onions or sliced potatoe sinside them, she would use spinach inside. Deep fried spinach pakoras dipped in lal-mirch (red-pepper), hara dhanya and Podina (coriander and mint), and imli (tamarind) chutnis is just unbelievable at Iftar time. You gotta try it!
Thanks to HDF Newsletter for highlighting this delicious recipe:
PAKORA: Most Popular Iftar Item among Pakistanis
By Taha Ghayyur
According to the January 2001 Gallup Polls in Pakistan, Pakora has been rated as the most popular food item at Iftar every Ramadan. As one Pakistani lady once remarked, “I wonder what Ramadan would be like without my Pakoras!”
A typical Pakora is simply a slice of potato or a bunch of onions coated in a mildly spiced, turmeric coloured batter, and then deep fried. Variations include using chunks of broccoli, cauliflower floret, or even slices of aubergine!
Usually small, the crisply fried Pakoras are most often served as appetizers or snacks, beside Ramadan.
What makes this little Pakora so special?
A Yes Pakistan Staff member embarked upon the mission to solve this mystery. After interviewing several Pakistani cooks and women, the following 7 reasons seem to emerge as the major factors contributing to Pakora’s fame:
1- It takes relatively less time to prepare;
2- Its ingredients are few and simple, available at any local market;
3- It is very economical. It is probably one of the most affordable fried items you can have at home;
4- It is small in size and very light, compared to other things usually fried in oil, such as Samosas, Vegie Rolls, etc. This feature allows great quantities of Pakoras to be consumed;
5- The fact that Pakoras can only be cooked and served fresh makes it even more attractive. People like eating fresh and crispy food at Iftar time;
6- No Pakistani meal could be complete without spices and onions! Pakora allows people to have both of these requirements fulfilled;
7- Even though Pakoras are usually eaten hot and fresh, they still taste good and retain their crispiness if eaten a couple of hours after being fried, unlike other fritters.
“Pakora is not only our favourite item in Ramadan. Traditionally, in Pakistan the season of rain or spring is celebrated by serving deep-fried potato and onion pakoras!” stated an enthusiastic elderly woman.
> Preparation time: approx. 45 minutes
> For 6-8 people
- 1 cup chickpea flour (Besan)
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 finely chopped green chillies,
- 1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- oil for frying
- An assortment of vegetables: Onions, cut into rings or sliced, potato
1. Stir the flour, salt and chilli powder into a bowl.
2. Pour in sufficient water to make a thick batter and beat well until smooth. Leave to stand for at least 20 minutes.
3. Stir the chillies, coriander and baking powder into the batter.
4. Drop in the potatoes/onions to coat with batter.
5. Heat the oil in a deep pan, drop in the battered potatoes/onions and deep-fry until crisp and golden.
6. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen towel and keep warm.
7. Serve hot.