When it is raining and you have to cook up something quickly for a crowd, Pakoras are a no-brainer. Thanks to the Mumbai Monsoons and a group of kind friends, I have been eating Pakoras almost every other day for sometime now. Even though I don’t make them everyday at home, the ladies tea-parties are reason enough to gorge on different kinds of pakoras with a hot cup of tea. Today, on the national #ChaiPakodaDay (a food concept by Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal), I take pleasure to make this day special in my own way. These pakoras are really easy to make. I always keep a good stock of deveined small shrimps in the freezer. Most of it goes in preparing delicious Bengali meals for my family. Some of it goes in stir-fried Asian dishes. Still, I often have enough as standby.
The succulent Ajwain leaves that I have used here are not obtained from the plant of Carom seeds or Ajwain. These edible leaves belong to some other species and smell exactly like Ajwain or Carom seeds. A real carom-seed plant is different and has very delicate, thin leaves. I started cooking with the succulent Ajwain leaves recently (the leaves are as shown in the pictures). I really love the pleasant, spicy aroma of these leaves. Having a plant in the balcony really helps, as I have access to these fresh leaves all the time.
Instead of water, I used whey that was the by-product of my homemade paneer. If you don’t have whey, use plain water. These pakoras are great on their own, but these taste even better with tamarind chutney!
#ChaiPakodaDay Special: Pakoras of Ajwain Leaves and Small Shrimps
- Chickpea flour Besan: 2 cups
- Cornflour: 1 cup
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
- Whey or plain water: just enough to make a thick batter
- Finely chopped onions: 1 cup
- Finely chopped green chillies: 3
- Ajwain or Carom seeds: ½ tsp
- Ajwain leaves chopped: 20
- Lightly fried deveined, small-sized shrimps (previously marinated in salt and turmeric powder): 2 cups
- Roasted Bengal Gram Chana Dal: 1.5 tbsp
- Chaat masala: for garnish
- Oil for deep-frying
- Tamarind chutney to serve
- Make a batter of the chickpea flour, cornflour, salt and turmeric powder. Add the whey or water only sufficient enough to make a thick batter.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with the batter. If the batter feels too thick, add little whey/water. Let it rest for 5 min. Mix it again with hand or a spatula.
- Deep-fry small portions of this batter on a medium flame. Remove on an absorbent paper when golden-brown on each side.
- Sprinkle Chaat Masala over the hot pakoras and serve immediately with tamarind chutney.
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