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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lobia Pakoras

What a delight.. Indian falafels.
These were meant to be an appetizer but I stuffed myself and ended up having just this for lunch.
Creamy and full of flavor, and only deep fried for a few minutes.. they're a very worthy appetizer!
I'd been wanting to make pakoras for a while now, and just as I was getting frustrated with a project for work, I decided to take a break to make these.
Quite therapeutic.
I was able to calm down and happily finish what I had started.
1 cup black-eyed peas (lobia), soaked overnight, drained, and puréed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ajwain (lovage) seeds
1 tsp grated ginger
1 large red onion, minced
2 green chilis, seeded and minced
1 carrot, grated
2 sprigs curry leaves, chopped
1 large handful chopped cilantro
pinch of salt
oil for deep frying
1.  Dry roast and grind the seeds.
2.  Add all the ingredients (except the oil) in a mixing bowl.  Mix well so all the ingredients dissipate evenly.  Taste and add salt if needed.  I only needed a tiny pinch.  The batter should not be liquidy, but not compact either.
3.  Heat a good amount of sunflower oil on high in a wok.  You want enough oil for your pakoras to cook submerged.  The hotter your oil, the faster the pakoras will cook.
4.  With your hands, make balls with the batter a little smaller than golf balls and gently drop into the hot oil.
5.  Cook 2-3 minutes until golden, then transfer to paper towel for oil absorption.   For a lower fat version, fry only until they start to color, then transfer to the oven and let them finish cooking there.  The oil will come out, but they may be a bit drier.

When you first bite into your pakoras, you will be pleasantly surprised at how non greasy they are, and how creamy and satisfying they taste.  Besides the deep frying part, they are actually very healthy.  I forgot to count the yield before diving in.

I'm happy to have discovered ajwain or lovage seeds.  I'd seen them in many Indian preparations and this is the first time I've used them.  They look like cumin or caraway seeds, but are very very different in taste.  I suppose the closest thing to use if you can't find any is a bit of oregano.  Its used in dough for samosas, in some breads or chapatis, but mostly in fried batters.

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