The stifling restrictions of the Coronavirus pandemic continue to keep us homebound… and at the same time, it’s still raining in many parts of India. This combination of home and rain is ideal for a snack that’s enormously popular across Bengal and Odisha. Bengalis call it Peyaji – it’s basically a kind of onion pakora.
It’s an item that goes well with both lunch and dinner as a crunchy side dish, but it is usually served with tea when it’s a rainy day outside.
For all you health-conscious people out there who are worried about eating deep-fried food, relax. We are making this dish with cold-pressed Mustard Oil… so it’s perfectly healthy.
Let’s gather the ingredients you will need.
Onions: 200 grams
Mustard Oil: 200 millilitres
Flour (Maida): 30 grams
Gram Flour (Besan): 30 grams
Rice Flour (Chaval Ka Atta): 10 grams
Green Chillies: 3 or 4
Sugar: 10 grams
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: half a teaspoon
Salt: to taste
Since this is a pakora, it is important to ensure that the Peyaji is crisp and crunchy. That’s why rice flour is added to the flour and gram flour for making the batter.
Peel, wash and slice the onions.
Coarsely chop the green chillies.
In a mixing bowl add the sliced onions and green chillies; then add the sugar and salt. Mix well with your hands. Some of the onion slices may come apart, breaking into onion rings and smaller pieces. That’s fine. Once you’re done, keep the mixing bowl aside.
It’s time to make the batter – but that’s not something you can do beforehand. As soon as the batter is ready, you should start frying. If you leave the batter out for too long, it will gather moisture and your Peyaji will not be crisp.
So it becomes imperative to get the oil ready for frying before your batter is ready. Heat the Mustard Oil in a wok (Kadai) on a High flame till the oil reaches its smoking point and emits wisps of white aromatic smoke. Then turn the heat down to Medium.
To your mixing bowl, add the flour, gram flour and rice flour. Mix it into a coarse batter. You will not need water because the moisture from the onions and green chillies is usually enough to make a dry batter that holds all the ingredients together. However, if you find the batter too dry, you can add a teaspoon of Mustard Oil to the mixture.
Take a handful of the batter in your palm and shape it into a flat cake. Drop it gently into the hot Mustard Oil. Deep fry using a perforated spoon (jharni or pauni) to flip the pakora around and lift it out of the oil at frequent intervals. This will ensure that the pakora doesn’t get burnt.
Watch for a gradual browning of each pakora. When it takes on a golden brown colour, it is done. Take it out and place it on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
You can fry multiple pakoras at a time but don’t put too many into the wok at the same time, or else, you won’t be able to keep an eye on whether they are getting burnt.
Your Bengali style Peyaji is now ready. Serve it hot along with steaming cups of tea. It can also be served with a chutney or a pickle if you’re in that kind of mood.
For more such recipes, please visit https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english