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A Snack with a Transnational History

In this blog, we have often talked about dishes that were Indian adaptations of recipes brought to India by the British during colonial times. But today’s recipe is the other way around. India had an ancient Mughal recipe called Nargisi Kebab (also known as Nargisi Kofta) which was created by coating a boiled egg in minced meat. The British took the concept back with them to their country where a food shop named Fortnum & Mason in London adapted it in 1738 to create a snack that would later be famous as the Scotch Egg. The name came along later in the 19th Century when an eatery in Yorkshire started selling them. The eatery was called William J. Scot & Sons – hence the name.

Today, we will make a variant of the famous Nargisi Kebab – the Nargisi Pakora.

Here are the ingredients that you will require.

Ingredients:

  1. Eggs: 4

  2. Potato: 1, large

  3. Onions: 2

  4. Green Chilli: 1

  5. Mustard Oil: 100 millilitres

  6. Chickpea Flour (Besan): 100 grams

  7. Corn Flour (Makke Ka Aata): 1 teaspoon

  8. Flour (Aata): 1 tablespoon

  9. Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon

  10. Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon

  11. Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 1 teaspoon

  12. Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: One large pinch

  13. Fenugreek (Methi) Leaves: 1 tablespoon

  14. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves, chopped: 1 tablespoon

  15. Salt: to taste

The ingredients mentioned above are for preparing four Nargisi Pakoras; adjust the ingredients proportionately to suit the number of Pakoras you require.

Preparation:

Wash, peel and grate the potatoes

Finely chop the onions.

Finely chop the green chilli.

Method:

Boil water in a pan and add a large pinch of salt. Place the eggs in the pan and boil for 5 minutes. Then remove them from the boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice-cold water. When the eggs become cool, shell them and keep aside.

In a mixing bowl, add the chickpea flour, corn flour, grated potato, chopped onions, green chilli, garam masala, red chilli powder, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek and coriander. Mix well. Then add a little water to create a thick batter.

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. When the oil reaches its smoking point and wisps of white smoke rise up from it, turn the flame down to Medium.

Spread the flour on a plate and roll each boiled egg in it till the egg is evenly covered in flour. Dust the excess flour off.

Next, coat each egg in the batter – ensure a thick coating because all the delightful spices are in the batter.

Deep-fry each batter-coated boiled egg till it takes on a golden brown colour and is evenly fried on all sides.

Place the fried Pakoras on kitchen towels to drain the excess oil off. However, since this recipe is created using healthy Mustard Oil, you could even skip this step…. more so because Mustard Oil is proven to be absorbed in food in very small amounts while cooking or frying.

Cut each Pakora lengthwise in half and arrange them on plates.

Your delightful Nargisi Pakora is now ready to be served. They can be accompanied with tomato ketchup, mustard sauce or any chutney of your choice. Celebrate the fascinating history of this delicious snack as you enjoy its unique flavour. After all, it has come a long, long way – from the Mughal kitchens to British restaurants and now… on your plate!


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