I have a work colleague, who is a dear friend and a very genuine and nice person. She is the only one I chat with and gossip around in the office. The problem with her is that she has always been incredibly self-conscious about her body. OK, so she’s not a size eight, can’t feel her rib cage and doesn’t have toothpick for legs. She's about a size 12-14 and really curvy and gorgeous with big blue eyes, radiant skin and lips like she has permanent red lipstick on. When she smiles, her cheeks squash up and her eyes twinkle. But tell that to her and you're up for a fight given that when she looks in the mirror she's seeing one big lipid molecule. She's on a new diet every week, but they never last, and then she goes through a binge/purge cycle and comes back on Monday morning with a new celebrity diet that she got from Women's weekly.
We go through all the cheap weeklies together every Friday, and its only because of her that I have started identifying some of the British B-rated actors and their latest fads and crushes. The last time we sat together, our attention was absorbed in a magazine article about “overcoming your body hang ups “ and how “ flabby arms should be no obstacle to loving the inner you “. And as further reinforcement of this tabloid wisdom, the article features a model in a size six bikini with about as much flab as a foetus. We enacted the poses and fell over the kitchen table having fits of giggles. And the next day, we were again sitting on the same table binging on some fish and chips and cursing these skinny models. The point is, we nag and curse ourselves and then binge on same things.. and the cycle continues…
We used to have Palak Pakodas a lot during rainy season in Delhi. Although during Monsoon the chances of catching viruses and bacteria are way higher, but then the cravings also increase manifolds. And that’s when we had these Pakoras on some road side shop with 2-3 glasses of tea. ( Yes ! Glasses, not cups ) I don’t remember we ever fell ill because of that, but its just our metabolism which was strong then. Now if I have these, am sure to fall ill the very next day..
So the day I planned to make these fritters, it just happened to rain heavy. And I started craving for those Spinach fritters. So, just for a combined (special) effect I added spinach to this batter and tried this version. The taste was obviously very different than the usual Pakoras, but good different.. They were porous from inside, with a light and crisp texture from outside. I really enjoyed making them and later having them with tea, this time just one cup J
Apart from adding spinach to the original recipe, I have made few other changes as well. You can check the original recipe at Priya’s blog here where she has stated the importance and origin of the dish. I increased the quantity of chickpea flour ( besan ) in the recipe and reduced All-purpose flour ( APF ). Also I added a tbsp. of garlic paste since I add them in my Spinach Pakoras and they taste heavenly. Also, Priya emphasised on using coconut pieces and not grated version but I used a combination of both simply because I had some grated coconut leftover which didn't make much of difference. So that’s it ! these were my changes, you may tweak the recipe as per your own pretences. Whichever way you do, this is a highly recommended snack for Monsoon.
Recipe: Priya's versatile recipes
Serving: 4-6 people
Course: Tea time snack
What you need?
½ cup All-purpose flour ( Maida )
1 cup Gram flour/Besan/Chickpeas flour
1 cup yoghurt
¼ cup Water
¼ tsp Sugar
¼ tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Salt, or as per taste
½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 cup packed spinach leaves, chopped
2 tbsp Coconut pieces
2 tbsp grated coconut
1tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Ginger, grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic paste
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped
How to make?
- Mix the two flours in a big mixing bowl, add yoghurt, salt and baking soda. Whisk gently to form a thick paste. Add sugar and mix well
- Add water gradually now to make a batter, which is not too thick or too runny. Just the dropping consistency would do.
- Cover the bowl with a cling film, and let it rest in warm place over night or for minimum 4-5 hours
- Take the bowl out, remove the cling film. Now add the chopped coriander leaves, spinach, ginger, garlic paste, green chillies, cumin seeds and mix well.
- Finally add the coconut pieces, and grated coconut ( if using ) and mix well.
- Heat oil for deep frying, when it’s hot enough turn the flame to medium.
- Drop a tablespoon of batter to the hot oil, and fry in batches of 3-4 at a time, flipping them 2-3 times for even cooking
- Serve hot and fresh with chutneys or ketchup
- Once these Bhajjis were cold, reheating them wouldn’t bring the crisp texture back. If have to do it, you may broil them in oven for 5-7 minutes before serving. That should give you the similar results as fresh.
- As I said above, the reduced the quantity of APF and increased Gram flour,. You may just follow the original recipe which calls for vice versa quantity.
- I had some leftover bhajjis from the snack time, so next day I used them to make Kadhi Pakora. It wasn’t the same taste, but a bit different. If you also try that, keep the yoghurt gravy base spicy since these bhajjis are not that hot in taste