Of course, as soon as I start my new diet Shankar has to go and make these delicious Eggplant Pakodas. The chefmate threw these together as an afternoon snack the other day for Gopi and myself. I swear I only ate two, alright three. As we sat and munched on the pakodas we discussed the virtues of Indian pub fare, and how unfortunate it was for us that we were stuck in a world of fries, wings, and pizza when there was a land of appetizers which included bujjees, pakodas, tikkas, paneer 65, spicy bakshanams and so many others. Shankar and Gopi were going on about how they used to eat all this stuff growing up in India and all I could do was watch them with big eyes and drool at the descriptions.
Pakodas can be made with any vegetables, or combinations of them. We typically do them with cauliflower, onion, potato, or eggplant. The key ingredient in this is the curry leaf, it adds so much to the flavor. Guaranteed hit with your friends, but you do have to go to the gym to eat these.
1 and 1/2 cup finely chopped eggplant (with the skin), 3 cups besan (chickpea flour), 1 cup rice flour, approximately 2 cups water, 1 small red onion minced, 1 handful chopped curry leaves, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp turmeric, salt to taste, 1 litre oil for frying
1. Mix all the ingredients together (except the oil). Adding water until you get a consistency where you get a clump of batter that doesn't fall apart.
2. Heat the oil to the appropriate smoke point based on the type of oil you are using. See here for more information regarding that.
3. Drop 2 tablespoon sized clumps of the batter into the oil (not more than 4-5), and fry them on both sides until they are nice and browned.
4. Drain them against a paper towel to remove excess oil.
5. Serve with tamarind and coriander chutney.
If you have never deep fried before I recommend reading up on the internet about it. It is important to be very careful when mixing your dough, if there is too much water in your batter making it too loose, you increase the chance of it spluttering out of the oil and burning you very badly. Also if you are reusing oil, the smoke point of the oil decreases with every use, so you must make sure it reaches the correct temperature for frying in order for your pakodas to turn out crispy (otherwise they will be soggy). This site has some very useful information.
On Asha's suggestion I am going to send this into RCI: Karnataka! Asha tells me this is a dish that is featured in Kannadiga homes, and they call it Badanekai (Eggplant) Bajji.
More Pakoda Recipes
Spicyandhra: Spicy Pakodas
Samayal.com: Medhu Pakoda
The Hindu: Of Pakoras and Kachoris
Spice Corner's: Onion Bhajji's
Foodies Hope: Spinach Pakodas
Mysoorean: Cabbage and Onion Pakodas
Sobila's: Mini Bhajji