I will never lie to you about food. So let me get this out right in the open…. I HAVE NEVER EATEN A PAKORA IN MY LIFE.
I have heard the word being thrown around, I have come across it in recipe books and yet I have never gone within a whisker of it.
I have seen it once up close and personal, but never attempted to taste it. Firstly it looked like a chilli bite that had a bad run in with hot oil and secondly, well there is no other reason actually. I think it has to do with something my father once told me about it, but I can’t remember.
When I came across this recipe in Aarti Paart’s book, it didn’t immediately scream at me to make it and I wasn’t interested either. One the main ingredients was sweet potatoes, which they sell in bulk and by bulk I mean 1kg and seriously in our household we don’t eat sweet potatoe at all so to make this recipe, I would have to buy 1kg and only land up using 1.
The remaining 990g would lay in the vegetable basket , slowly making its way to the bottom of the basket, where it would most likely stay till it started turning into vodka and attracting an assortment of irritating flying species and then and only then would I be motivated to dig out that 990g of vodka sweet potatoes.
If I was lucky, my mother would not notice it in the dirt bag, but 9 out 10 times, she ALWAYS notices me throwing away bad food and then she comes down on me like a ton of potatoes about waste…. Yes yes… I have heard it so many times, I help her finish her sentence and then I duck so that she doesn’t knock me over the head.
If I think really heard and I might be mistaken here, but I think we pray with sweet potatoe, I am not sure if we put it the puli curry or my mother peels and boils it and serves it like that at our annual July prayers, I would be lying if I told you, but if memory serves me well my dad normally chops it up while no one is looking and mixes it into the puli curry, which is such a waste seeing as everyone eats around the sweet potatoe and refuses to touch it.
I had to run into the store the other day after work to buy something and when I was nearing the checkout queue, I spotted a Aunty who I knew would only complain about two things… you getting fat and why you not married, I got a son for you…. To save myself this conversation and seeing as I did not have the energy to prevent myself from putting her in the trolley and pushing it down the steepest hill, I decided to just avoid her completely and I ducked down the fruit and veg isle. Where low and behold, I spotted sweet potatoes that were being sold loose.
Just up my street, I bagged one and rushed to pay and then ran into the parking lot to avoid being seen… I feel like a celebrity when I hide from Aunties on the prowl, I am even under cover, sunglasses and peak cap so I will go unnoticed.
Seeing as I was able to get my hands on a single sweet potatoe, I finally decided to give this recipe a try. It was really fun to make and super easy to fry.
I loved it, I even surprised myself and I am not even sure why I didn’t like it in the first place.
My mother loved it, she couldn’t believe that there was sweet potatoe in there and then we have the Indian food critic, the man of the house.
I left them on the table to cool, so when he got home, he zoned in on them and threw a couple in his mouth, speaking with a mouth full of food , asking me how did I know he was lissing for chilli bites and then he swallowed and had a funny look on his face.
And then he complained, this tastes funny something is missing man, to which I had no option but to put him out of his misery and tell him it is pakora and he was like paka what. Now I am just confused… stop feeding me confusing food and then he went on to saying his weekly mantra. “All I want is simple plain, dhal, greenbeans, cabbage and rice.” It took everything I had not to pour the sour cream over his head.
- 1 x sweet potatoe, peeled and grated.
- 1 x red onion, thinly sliced.
- Salt and pepper.
- ¼ x tsp cardamom powder.
- ¼ x tsp cinnamon powder.
- ½ x tsp cumin seeds.
- 2 x tbsp. ginger garlic paste.
- 1 x green chilli, finely chopped.
- ¼ x cup coriander, finely chopped.
- 3 x cups chick pea flour, sifted.
- ±2 ¾ x cups water.
- In a bowl, mix together the potatoe and onion together.
- Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt and mix.
- Leave the mixture to stand for 30 minutes to draw water.
- Using a cheese/muslin cloth, squeeze out any excess water.
- Place back into a dry bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix till a nice batter is achieved. You might need to add a little more or a little less water, depending on the consistency.
- Using a mechanical ice cream scoop, scoop out little balls of the mixture and deep fry in hot oil till lightly golden brown all over.
- Place on kitchen towel to drain
- Serve with plain sour cream