Mirchi Pakora (Stuffed, Fried Chilies)
Yields: 15 fritters
15 large green chiles, with the stems
½ cup chickpea flour, sifted
1-½ tablespoons basmati rice flour (see tips)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon jaggery (sugar), shredded
6 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dry coconut powder (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
(you may use prepared tamarind paste)
Alternately, stuff the chilies with PANEER
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3 cups peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil), for deep frying, as needed
Prepping the chile peppers:
Using a paring knife, create a 3-inch incision in the chile peppers. Depending on the spiciness, you can remove the seeds or not. This time, I removed the seeds (don't forget to wear disposable gloves). Set aside.
Making tamarind paste:
In a bowl, combine the tamarind, jaggery, ground cumin, coconut powder (if used) and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix well.
Using a small spoon, fill the chiles with the tamarind paste. It should look like this:
Deep-frying mirchi pakora:
In a mixing bowl, stir together the chickpea flour, rice flour, baking powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and the remaining salt. Sift the dry ingredients. Add the cumin seeds and a little cold water to the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated. It should have the consistency of pancake batter.
Layer a cooling rack, previously lined with paper towels if you like, on top of a baking sheet (for easy clean-up of the drained oil).
In a large Dutch oven (or any regular deep-fryer), heat the oil for about 2 minutes over high heat. There should be at least a 2-inch-high level of oil. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly (not too hot).
Test the oil by dropping a teaspoon of pakora batter into the hot oil. It should float but not swell.
Pick up the chile by the stem and dip into the pakora batter to coat completely. Allow the excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Drizzle an additional teaspoon of pakora batter over the chile to ensure that it adheres well and place in the hot oil. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the fritters.
Place the pakora one at a time in the hot oil; cook up to 4 pakora per batch.
Fry in batches. Make sure the chile fritters don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes per batch. The fritters will start to pop and increase in volume. Use a splatter screen to prevent the oil from jumping everywhere . Flip each piece using a spider skimmer and cook for about a minute more until golden on both sides.
Delicately lift each pakora, draining as much oil as possible and transfer them to the cooling rack. Continue with the rest of the chiles.
Serve immediately with various chutneys on the side and a mix of chopped red onions, cilantro and chopped tomatoes with lime juice.
All images and original content Copyright © 2003 - 2017 Joe Kennedy