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Mirchi Ka Pakoda (green chilli fritters)

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Mirchi Ka Pakoda is a delicious snack for those of you who enjoy the heat of green chillies! Perfect when teamed with hot cup of Masala Chai on a cold day. Make Mirchi Ka Pakoda with pickling green chillies for extra heat or with the "sweet" banana chillies for a milder taste which is just as enjoyable.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large green chillies (the ones used for making chilli pickle) or 6 banana chillies
  • 3 tsps Chaat Masala (available at most Indian grocery stores)
  • 4 tsps tamarind juice (made with a golf ball-sized lump of tamarind)
  • 2 tsps red chilli powder
  • 1 medium onion chopped very fine
  • 3 small green chillies chopped very fine (use only if you are making pakodas with banana chillies)
  • 1 cup bengal gram flour (besan)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil for deep frying

Preparation:

  • To make tamarind juice, put the ball of tamarind in a bopwl and cover with very hot water. Set aside for 10 minutes. When the tamarind has softened, use your fingers to mash it and squeeze out the pulp. Do this till all pulp has been removed. Now strain the pulp through a sieve and keep juice aside for later.
  • Put the gram flour in a large mixing bowl with the turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, cumin seeds, salt to taste. Add warm water - a little at a time - and use a whisk to blend all together. The resulting batter should be like thick pancake batter. Keep aside.
  • In another bowl, mix the onion, green chillies, 1 tsp red chilli powder, Chaat masala and tamarind juice. Mix well to blend all ingredients. Keep aside.
  • Wash and pat dry all the Pakoda chillies. If you are using the hot pickling green chillies, you can reduce some of the heat by removing the seeds. Wear gloves while doing this to avoid your fingers burning.
  • Make one slit along the length of the chillies (from just under the stem to just above the end of the chilli) making sure you do not slit all the way till the bottom or cut through the other side of the chilli.
  • Now stuff/ fill the slit you made in the chilli with the onion-spice-tamarind juice mix. Repeat for all the chillies.
  • Heat the oil for deep frying (on a medium flame) till it is almost smoking.
  • When the oil is ready for frying, dip one chilli in the gram flour batter to coat well on all sides. Put it into the oil and fry till golden all over turning ocassionally. Remove and drain on paper towels. Fry remaining chillies in the same way.
  • Serve piping hot with Mint-Coriander Chutney and a hot cup of Masala Chai (spiced tea)!
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