Well I already had my go-to-hell pants on earlier in the week when I fried up a batch of vadai for my birthday party. And since I'm not about to buy a larger size go-to-hell pants any time soon, I thought I'd better ratchet back the sizzling oil in the name of common sense. But, I really wanted pakoras. Really. I don't know why they popped into my head all of a sudden, but once they were there I was their slave. Something in my house was going to get pakora'ed and damn fast.
I'd gotten a cauliflower at the farmers' market and had been planning on cooking it last Saturday night, but changed my mind at the last minute. There it was, sitting all by its' lonesome in my fridge. Aha! I thought, perfect for pakoras. I'd also picked up some mushrooms on sale. Great! I thought, I'll toss those in too. So I did.
The idea of making pakoras baked not fried is really pretty straightforward. Make the pakora batter, dip the pakorees (whatever vegetables you desire) in said batter and then pop everything in the oven for a few minutes. You will be enjoying pakoras in less than 30 minutes. Honest.
Here's what to do:
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees
Break a head of cauliflower into separate florets
In a large bowl mix together:
1 cup of chickpea (besan) flour
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of coriander
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of chili powder (I used Kashmiri chili)
1/2 tsp of garam masala
Oil or grease a cookie sheet
Dip the vegetable pieces into the batter one at a time and place them onto the greased cookie sheet.
Bingo! You are in the pakora business.
Well...... if you haven't eaten a big plate of fried vadai, a butt-load of samosas, a lot of momo, two large slices of Princess cake, hit Morimotos and made a pit stop at iHop in the last couple of days, then go ahead and fry away. However if you have (and yes, I will cop to all of this) then you might want to consider your oven and give the deep fat fryer a little time out.
In this case I would definitely recommend this as a quick cure for the pakora Jones if it should strike. After all, the batter is the same no matter how they're being cooked. Add a bit of yogurt mint raita for dipping and enjoy pakoras without guilt.