Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bread Pakora Picklewala

"Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation."
(~Kin Hubbard)

I couldn't agree more with Kin Hubbard. I have, on many occasions, been one of those "nine." How unimaginative you say! Well, if someone calls you, and after the perfunctory 'hellos' and the 'how are you' has been answered in monosyllables, a long uncomfortable silence ensues, what would you do? "Why did you call?" sounds curt, if the person on the other side is kind of uptight, or you don't share that sort of camaraderie anyway! So, yours truly asks about the weather! Either that or I have the option of drowning myself in the silence or stealing the call away and talking about whatever comes to mind, until the other person starts to talk!!! Funny, I tell you.

Talking of weather brings me back to rainy days and food. Here in Chile, people love to have sopaipillas and empanadas. In India rainy day snacks are a big thing, especially in the northern parts. Pakoras, gulgulas, hot samosas, kachoris, mirchi baras, aaloo baras, and heaven knows how many more food items get washed down with hot tea! Here in our part of the world it's winter and rainy days are aplenty. We have been having some pakora days too. Many weekends over the past two months have been such 'pakora' days: potato, onion, cauliflower, spinach, methi, aubergine, fish and stuffed bread pakora (aka 'bread samosa')

Bread samosas usually have a potato stuffing, but many years back in Udaipur, I experimented with stuffings such as Green Chutney, Ketchup and Pickle Masala. The pickle one was liked a lot and became one of the pakoras in my collection of home recipes. I decided to make it here too. Only this time round I used chilli-lime pickle masala instead of my standard mango pickle masala. I'm sure you'll love this twist in your bread pakora.

You could do an assorted lot, using different pickles.


Bread slices (big ones) required
Pickle or acc to personal preference
Besan (chickpea flour).......................................acc to required number of pakoras
Ajwain (carom seeds).........................................a small pinch to 1 cup of besan
Baking powder..................................................1/2 tsp to 1 cup of besan
Salt to taste
Red chilli pwdr to taste

Take as many slices of bread as you need.
Choose a pickle or pickles you like. Spoon out the masala, picking a few pieces of the vegetable too. Mash the pieces with a fork or the back of a spoon. If using lemon pickle, remember to pick out the lemon pips as they are bitter to the bite.
Now spread a generous helping of masala over a slice of bread, cover it with another slice to make a sandwich.
Cut into four squares. I do this when I use large slices, otherwise I cut them diagonally to make two triangles.
Sift the besan and baking powder together. Sifting helps to disintegrate any lumps and facilitates in making a smooth batter.
Add salt to taste, a pinch of red chilli or according to taste, and the carom seeds.
Add water a little at a time and keep whipping it to make a nice fluffy, smooth batter. It should be thick and of pouring consistency too.
Heat oil in a pan. Drop a bit of the batter into it. If the batter rises to the top quickly and doesn't start to turn brown immediately, the heat is right. Allow the test batter to start browning then remove.
Dip each bread samosa quarter into the batter, shake off some of the excess and drop into the oil.
Keep turning them over and moving them around to get even browning. Fry to a golden brown.
Serve hot with a beverage of your choice!
Happy rainy days!


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