I would say street cooks are magicians. With just a few basic cooking essentials like a griddle and a deep-fryer they come-up with delicious meals or snacks! Its interesting to me when I watch them assemble their mobile kitchens, and within a few mins they are all set for making some of the best street foods. Street foods give identity to any place. My home town Madurai is also famous for street foods as I had mentioned in this post.
No one wants to get sick, but avoiding street food means denying yourself an essential part of the food experience :) Onions Pakoras are one of those street-side snacks that I enjoy anytime. While I was working in India, there used to be a few road side tea-stalls closer to my office. Many evenings we used to take a walk to those stalls to hang out with friends and enjoy these hot & crispy onion pakoras with a glass of tea. Sometimes I take masala vadas, but mostly would stick on to onion pakoras. They are served in banana-leaf over a plate with coconut chutney on the side. Hmm, yummy! Especially on a rainy day! Those are some of the nice-to-remember days, athough now I can't believe that I never fell sick eating those street side foods that often!
With that said, ironically, I rarely try making onion pakoras (though I make onion bhajjis often) at home until recently, when I thought I will give this a try. I searched for the recipe through various sources and finally came up with this recipe from mixing different steps from different recipes for onion pakoras. It was perfect and came out very close to those road-side pakodas. So easy and simple!
- Sliced red onions - 2 cups
- Grated ginger - 1 tbsp
- Soaked cashews (soak for 5 mins) - 2 tbsp
- Chopped curry leaves - 1 tbsp
- Finely chopped cilantro - 2 tbsp
- Lemon juice - 1 tsp (optional)
- Gram flour/Besan - 1 cup
- Rice flour - 1/2 cup
- Baking soda - 1 tsp
- Oil - 1 tbsp
- Oil - to deep fry
- Mix the sliced onions, ginger, cashews, lemon juice, a little bit of salt, chopped curry leaves and corriander leaves in a bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix the gram flour, rice flour, chilli powder, baking powder, the remaining salt and 1 tbsp oil.
- This recipe hardly requires any water to mix, as the onions release a lot of moisture when mixed with salt in the first step, and also because we are adding some oil in the second step.
- Now add the onion mixture to the flour mixture and sprinkle little bit of water to make the mixture to a binding consistency. The consistency should be in such a way that the mixture can bind and stay together if we make balls. This is different than bhajji consistency.
- Take a portion of the mixture and drop it bit by bit in the oil - don't have to make them in round shape.
- Drain them and place them in a paper napkin.
Serve hot with green chutney or sweet chutney!