The onset of monsoons uplifts us. The petrichor stirs awaken the kid within us and I don’t know about anyone else but I want to dance in the rain, kick splash the puddles, feel the raindrops on my face and sing Bollywood songs. If I had my way, I would don a chiffon saree and sway in one, like the actors in our tinsel town do. The monsoons are just too romantic. In our kitchens, there’s a duo that also sizzles when the rains come in. Garama garam pakodas and a hot cup of adrak ki chai (ginger tea). Like two lovers finally getting together, they are placed next to each other on the burners where they happily dance in their vessels, till finally, the culinary couple is served hot with green chutney and ketchup to be devoured by all.

While the Congress scoffed on hearing our esteemed Prime Minister make the “pakoda” statement earlier this year, there is no doubt that the popularity of these fritters make it a sought-after snack for the common man and there are nooks and corners of every neighborhood that thrive on selling pakodas to make a decent living. Whoever first thought about fritters must be a genius. You can make pakodas out of a crazy number of things. Vegetables like brinjal, bitter gourd, onions, paneer, potato, spinach, cauliflower;  flowers as those of banana and pumpkin and stems like the lotus stem are ideal for pakodas. “Khandani Pakode Wale” in Nauroji Nagar, Delhi sells more than 20 types of pakodas. He even offers a combo pack of every piece of pakoda so you can try all the different kinds. It’s my hot, happy brown paper bag takeaway when it rains. With the traffic jams that accompany the monsoons, I’m in a zen state while the world around me honks crazily to a non-budging traffic. It’s just the rains, pakodas, music and me. Ah! Sheer bliss!

Ever since I got married, each time I go to Lajpat Nagar, Rama Palace Corner Cart is my stopover for moong dal pakodas. It’s interesting to see people from all walks of life hovering around the thela for their plate of heaven. It’s a perfect example of how food can put everyone on the same platform and bring back the simple joys we have grown up with. This where conversations are made and friendships begin.

One of our neighbors’ cuts left over rotis into even pieces and tosses them into the besan batter to serve them as evening snacks. At other times, pakodas are made of leftover rice. Rice is mashed and then mixed with gram flour/ besan, chopped coriander, ginger, onions, spices, and salt. The result is crusty, hot balls that are golden brown on the outside and soft as a baby pillow on the inside.

Bread pakodas in our house are for a monsoon day or when we deserve a special treat, like after a good workout. Mashed up potatoes are spiced up and sandwiched between two bread slices before it is dunked into a mix of gram flour, spices, salt, and water. Care must be taken that the mix is not watery. The thickness should be enough that it coats the back of a spoon. Once the consistency is perfect it envelopes the bread well and when slid into hot oil, forms a golden layer around it sealing the flavors within. Using potatoes as a filling is not mandatory. One can simply use a halved bread slice and make a no-fuss bread pakoda. 

An initiative of Rushina M. Ghildiyal, a food chronicler, 30th July is celebrated as #ChaiPakoda Day. Versatile, easy to make and a ‘feel good’ factor; pakodas are our answer not just on rainy days, but any day. Have it for breakfast, tea time snacks or make it for tiffin. Yes! It’s overloaded in calories but it’s worth the extra mile one has to run later to burn it off. Trust me!

 

 

 

Print Recipe
Bread Pakoda
An Indian snack consisting of pieces of vegetable, chicken, etc, dipped in a spiced batter and deep-fried. It is served hot with a piquant sauce, chutney or ketchup.
Cuisine Indian
Servings
people
Cuisine Indian
Servings
people
Instructions
  1. Peel the boiled potatoes and mash them while still warm.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Taste seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  3. Cut the bread into triangular pieces. Put a layer of mashed potatoes on one piece of bread. Cover with another. Make sandwiches like these with remaining slices. Keep aside.
  4. In a wide bowl, put besan. Add hing, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, salt, carom seeds, chopped coriander leaves. Add about 1/2 cup of water. The consistency should be neither thick nor thin. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
  5. Pour oil in a kadai and let it heat on a flame. Once hot, reduce to mid flame.
  6. Take one set of the sandwich and dip into the besan batter so it coats beautifully. Let it slide into the kadai.
  7. Fry till it is crisp and golden brown. Drain on tissue paper.
  8. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or chutney. Enjoy!
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