Pakora. It's the most satisfying meatless thing I've eaten. How good is it?
It's cheeseburger good.
It's skillet pizza good.
It's taco good.
It's Ninja star roll good.
It's almost gyro-good, and we all know homemade gyros comprise the summit of Mount Putitinmymouth.
And unlike all of the above, it's meatless.
How can this be? How does this mouth-marvel navigate the forest of texture, hurdle the gulch of expensiveness and bound up the steps of flavor two-at-a-time without any legs?
Billions of people experimenting in the cradle of flavor over thousands of years, that's how. I'm often asked what my favorite national cuisine is and there are so many dishes I love that this question would be impossible to answer... except India exists.
I'm not knocking foods from anywhere (except England and Scandinavia) but India is just so, so, SO good at food.
I make no claims of authenticity about the following recipe. Like most things I cook, it started with a bite at a restaurant, progressed to reading countless recipes online and watching multiple videos on youtube, and culminated in me sprawled post-meal on the floor with greasy fingers and labored breathing.
1-2 large potatoes
2 -3 inches fresh ginger
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch cilantro or other greens
1 large carrot (optional)
2 Jalapenos or other chili (optional but highly recommended)
2 cloves garlic
any other vegetable you have (optional)
Seasonings: (or use garam masala+ turmeric)
1 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Pepper (or 2 TBSP if you have a Pepper Cannon)
1 tsp Cumin
1TBSP Chili Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander
chickpea flour approx 1 cup
Neutral oil for shallow frying, or ghee if you're made of money and can handle a new addiction.
Instructions: Run all your veggies through a box grater. I slice the onions/peppers and chop cilantro (stems and all) because it's easier, but everything else gets grated.
Slap it all into a large bowl with your spices and mix thoroughly. let rest for 20 minutes. The salt will draw moisture from the cut veggies so you don't need to add water.
Add half of your chickpea flour and mix thoroughly, then add more until you can lightly squeeze the mixture into shape and it won't immediately fall apart.
Heat oil to 325F and shallow (or deep) fry 1 heaping TBSP of mixture, lightly pressed until golden brown and crispy.
Eat the first one and adjust salt/seasoning, then fry the rest in batches.
Serve with tamarind dipping sauce, assuming any pakoras make it to the table. If there's none left to share with those you love, you can still share this recipe.